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Caroline Fan on October 31, 2008 - 4:40pm
The most typical workplace anti-immigrant bill has required employers to use the often inaccurate federal "E-Verify" system of employee verification, a pilot ID system used by the Social Security administration that was never meant to be used on a mass basis by employers. Most in the business community recognize that the inaccuracy of E-Verify may open them up to anti-discrimination lawsuits. And, many worry about the broader economic damage of inducing many legal workers to flee states rather than face such discrimination by inaccurate systems. Oklahoma Republican State Rep. Shane Jett voted for Oklahoma's HB 1804 mandating E-Verify last year but now says it "will be the single most destructive economic disaster since the Dust Bowl." In Tennessee, despite the new legal sanctions against hiring undocumented workers, employers have shunned the federal E-Verify system as unreliable, with only 542 out of 117,903 employers initially registering to use E-Verify.
- To respond to the problems of E-Verify, Illinois, in 2007, enacted HB 1744. The bill prohibited employers from enrolling in the E-Verify system until the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases could make a determination on 99% of the tentative non-confirmation notices issued to employers within 3 days-something they cannot yet do. The law was suspended during a federal lawsuit against the law, but it highlights basic standards that should be required of any employment verification system to avoid discrimination.
- The spring of 2008 also saw a decision by the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma prohibiting a state from penalizing employers who do not use a federal verification program. As the court decision plays out, progressives can continue to introduce legislation urging employers and the federal government not to use E-Verify (see proposed bill Rhode Island HR 8031).
- To directly deal with discrimination against legal immigrant workers, New York's proposedA4603 would amend the state executive law and the civil rights law to clearly outlaw discrimination because of alien status.
- Electronic Privacy Information Clearinghouse, E-Verify System: DHS Changes Name, But Problems Remain for U.S. Workers
Immigration Law Center, How Errors in Basic
Pilot/E-Verify Databases Impact U.S. Citizens and Lawfully Present
- NILC, Why States and Localities Should Not Require Participation in the Basic Pilot Program
- Government Accountability Office (GAO), Testimony on challenges of implementing a mandatory E-verify system
- National Immigration Law Center, Basic Pilot / E-Verify: Not a Magic Bullet