E-Verify requirement in Obama stimulus plan sparks controversy
The system would be used to vet the immigration status of workers
Computerworld - A proposal initially included in President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package that requires entities getting federal funds or tax breaks to use the government's E-Verify program to vet the immigration status of workers is proving to be controversial.
Supporters of the idea say it is needed to prevent illegal immigrants from securing jobs paid for by the stimulus package -- especially in the construction sector, which is slated to receive $104 billion if the measure makes it through Congress intact.
But opponents to including the electronic verification component are complaining about the relative unreliability of the system and its inability to stop people from using fraudulent IDs to get work authorization.
The E-Verify system is operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Citizen and Immigration Services, together with the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is a free, voluntary Internet-based employment eligibility verification system that lets employers compare information from an employee's job application with information contained on DHS and SSA databases to determine work eligibility in the U.S.
According to a DHS description of the program, the SSA database against which the matching is done contains more than 425 million records, while the DHS's immigration databases hold more than 60 million records. In most cases, employers get search results in seconds.
Only about 100,000 employers out of more than 7 million in the U.S. are currently signed up for the program.
Recent enhancements to the system include a photo-screening tool for biometric verification and the availability of naturalization data that can confirm the citizenship status of recently naturalized U.S. citizens. As of this coming May, all federal contractors and subcontractors will have to start using the program when hiring new employees.
The version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed last week by the House of Representatives, included the E-Verify mandate. But that provision has been culled from the Senate version -- prompting frantic lobbying on both sides of the issue to either put it back into the legislation or leave it out permanently.
Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington-based immigration watchdog group, estimated that failing to properly vet the employment eligibility of workers under the stimulus plan could result in a large number of undocumented workers getting taxpayer-funded jobs. That could be especially true of the construction industry, where nearly 15% of the workers are illegal immigrants, Camarota claimed.
Camarota argued that there is little reason to oppose the E-Verify program and said that concerns about its reliability have been overstated. He noted that the number of instances where the E-Verify system had mistakenly fingered a worker as being unauthorized for employment was a "tiny fraction" of the overall number of eligibility checks made by employers. In cases where mistakes are made, the process allows for remediation, Camarota said.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
- Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse
- Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Building a Bridge to the Next Generation Data Center
- Selecting a widely adopted operating system is a foundational component of a standardization strategy.
- OpenStack and Red Hat: IDC White paper
- Most OpenStack deployments are by public cloud providers that are early adopters of technology and use OpenStack in a do-it-yourself deployment and support... All Government IT White Papers
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- All Government IT Webcasts