The E-Verify system is supposed to tell employers if an applicant is authorized to work in the United States. An independent study shows the system has more misses than hits when it comes to fake IDs.
The Department of Homeland Security commissioned Westat to do the study to determine where the holes are in the system.
One big hole: Westat reported that the program often couldn’t confirm whether information workers were presenting was their own. According to researchers, “Many unauthorized workers obtain employment by committing identity fraud that cannot be detected by E-Verify.”
The researchers put the inaccuracy rate at 54%. That doesn’t mean that 54% of all workers who get the “approved” stamp by E-Verify have committed fraud. Rather, it means the system didn’t correctly assess the ID info of illegal workers 54% of the time.
DHS has responded by saying it plans to improve the system by expanding the data bases, introducing a photo screening and funding a special unit to investigate identity fraud.
The report is troubling for a number of reasons:
- Some states, such as Arizona, have mandated that employers in those states use the system to verify eligibility for employment.
- The system is increasing in popularity among employers. In 2006, fewer than 5 million employers used E-Verify. According to Westat, that number will probably grow to about 28 million this year.
- Federal contractors must use the system to verify the employment eligibility of their workers.
Go here for a synopsis of the Weststat report.