Mandatory E-Verify is Blasted as Overburdening SSA

May 7th, 2008

Today, the US House heard testimony on legislation to require all employers to participate in E-Verify, the federal electronic employment verification system that allows an employer to verify an employee’s work authorization online.  The system is notorious for its many flaws and today representatives and witnesses voiced concern that the law would overtax the Social Security Administration (SSA) when it is trying to reduce the backlog of disabilitiy claims. 

The following is a statement from MALDEF:  “MALDEF strongly supports fixing this nation’s broken immigration system, but forcing a deeply flawed system upon an unstable economy is not the answer. A mandatory EEVS will not only impose unnecessary financial burdens upon U.S. businesses, it will lead to unnecessary and unlawful terminations when employers receive tentative non-confirmation reports from the government and they or their employees do not complete the process. Further, EEVS will result in discrimination by employers who choose to not comply with the program. Additionally, a mandatory EEVS will drive the undocumented into an underground labor force without legal protections which will affect all U.S. workers and harm businesses that comply with the law. Recognizing the dangers that come with a mandatory EEVS which will increase discrimination against Latinos and other national origin minorities, present burdensome costs to businesses, and threaten the jobs of nearly 13 million native-born U.S. citizens, Congress should reject the pending legislation.”

According to Workforce Management, an alternative to mandatory E-Verify is the New Employee Verification Act, sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas. Johnson’s legislation would eliminate the current I-9 process and require that companies submit new-hire information electronically to the Social Security Administration through a child-support enforcement system that about 90 percent of U.S. employers use.

According to Workforce Management’s online article of May 6, 2008:  “Proponents of the Johnson bill say E-Verify is inefficient, prone to error and incapable of detecting identity fraud. The HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce, which is led by the Society for Human Resource Management, criticizes E-Verify for relying on the Social Security database, which has a 4.1 percent error rate and could mistakenly declare millions of people ineligible for employment.

The Johnson measure would address such problems through an appropriation that would clean up the Social Security database before the verification system goes into effect, according to Mike Aitken, SHRM director of government affairs. The bill also provides a safe harbor for employers who use the system, reduces the number of identification documents for new hires from 25 to four and allows people to put additional protections on their Social Security numbers.”