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.
- 18 Hot IT Certifications for 2014
- CIOs Opting for IT Contractors Over Hiring Full-Time Staff
- 12 Best Free iOS 7 Holiday Shopping Apps
- For CMOs Big Data Can Lead to Big Profits
- Slideshow: 5 ways to lock down your mobile device
- Slideshow: 10 mistakes companies make after a data breach
- How to rob a bank: A social engineering walk through
- Which smartphone is the most secure?
If you think getting it right from day one is always what matters, you probably haven't been following technology too closely.
- 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.
- Bring Networks and Applications Closer--Cisco ONE
- A series of sweeping trends is placing new requirements on the tried-and-true network model--requiring network infrastructure and applications to communicate. Get the open...
- Lippis Research Reviews the Cisco Catalyst 2960-X
- In this Lippis Report Research Note, Lippis Research reviews the latest edition of the "most popular access switch on the planet" -- the...
- Design Guide--Scaling Up to a Campus-Wide LAN
- Is it time to scale your network environment to a campus wired LAN? Here's the framework you need to set up your LAN...
- Comprehensive Security: Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series
- With a rich and comprehensive set of security features, Cisco Catalyst 2960-X and 2960-XR Series Switches can help you address networking megatrends such...
- Be Energy Efficient--The Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series
- How much energy could be saved if all 230 million Layer 2 and 3 fixed managed switch ports sold in 2012 were as... All Government IT White Papers
- Modernizing SAP environments with minimum risk - a path to Big Data Hear from top IDC analyst, Richard Villars, about the path you can start taking now to enable your organization to get the benefits...
- Vblock™ Specialized System for SAP HANA® Overview video from DJ Long about the new Vblock Specialized System for SAP HANA®.
- The Power of the Citrix Mobility Solution, XenMobile Does everything become a smartphone? Or does the smartphone begin to do everything? How can we afford to support BYOD? Rather, how can...
- BYOD Happens: How to Secure Mobility How to navigate the journey of securing mobility, including the BYOD corruption of IT, the top ten mobility strategies, and the mobility management...
- Fighting Fraud Videos: IBM Intelligent Investigation Manager Short videos about IBM Intelligent Investigation Manager (IIM) for Fraud. IIM optimizes the investigation of fraud for customers across many industries in both...
- All Government IT Webcasts
Does your organization offer extensive benefits, cool perks, competitive salaries, opportunities for training and advancement? Then get it recognized!
Nominate your company or another deserving organization for Computerworld's 2014 Best Places to Work in IT list now through Dec. 20, 2013.