E-Verify, the online tool employers can use to check the work-authorization status of new hires, wrongly clears illegal workers about 54% of the time, according to an independent study commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In the past, much of the criticism lobbed at E-Verify focused on how the system sometimes falsely flagged certain legally authorized workers as “illegals.” This new report shows the E-Verify system has another problem—failing to detect identity fraud.
“Many unauthorized workers obtain employment by committing identity fraud that cannot be detected by E-Verify,” said the report by research firm Westat.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is drafting a Democratic immigration bill and has opposed expanding E-Verify due to its flaws, said last month, “This is a wake-up call to anyone who thinks E-Verify is an effective remedy to stop the hiring of illegal immigrants.”
E-Verify is currently voluntary for most U.S. employers. About 184,000 of the nation’s 7 million employers are using E-Verify, according to the DHS. Certain federal contractors have been required to use E-Verify since last year. Congress gave the DHS about $100 million to spend on E-Verify in its 2010 budget.