E-Verify is a voluntary, free internet program that allows employers to verify the work eligibility of new hires. Administered by the Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS-USCIS), E-Verify compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility.

E-Verify is accurate and employers like it

E-Verify is a voluntary, free federal internet program that allows employers to verify the work eligibility of new hires. Because E-Verify is successful in identifying illegal aliens seeking jobs, some local and national proponents of cheap foreign labor try to prevent its application by misrepresenting the program.

A common, unsubstantiated charge is that legally eligible workers are harmed by it because the program is so inaccurate.

Suzanne Bonamici, running for election to Oregon’s Congressional District 1, called E-Verify “notoriously unreliable,”  in a candidate debate sponsored by the Portland  League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women, on Dec. 6, 2011.[1]

Here are some facts about E-Verify.

“Rosemary Jenks, the lawyer who heads up NumbersUSA's Capitol Hill Team, has repeatedly and publicly issued a challenge to the media and open-borders advocates to produce even one example of an American losing a job because the E-Verify system wrongly ordered it.

“If it turned out that of millions of transactions a year, there were 10 or 20 mistakes, we would be concerned but also find that to be an understandably tiny problem.

“But, to date, opponents have NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND an example of even ONE AMERICAN who lost a job due to problems with E-Verify.”

The Biggest 2 Lies About E-Verify (arguments opponents use to keep hiring illegal aliens), by Roy Beck, Jan. 31, 2009.

E-Verify is regularly updated and enhanced to improve its accuracy and usability.  For a description of E-Verify program improvements, see the E-Verify History and Milestones webpage.

In February 2012,  E-Verify added a service called Self Check, which enables citizens to test their Social Security number in the E-Verify program to confirm accuracy.  Thus anyone can make certain in advance that one’s standing as a legal worker is intact.   Self Check is also available in Spanish.

In December 2011, E-Verify reached a new record for that time:  it was in use at more than one million worksites.[2]  As of June 2014, about half a million more worksites had been added.

Customer satisfaction survey – E-Verify

Key Findings of the 2013 E-Verify User Survey

June 2014

More than 520,000 employers at over 1.5 million hiring sites nationwide are using E-Verify to help them confirm whether their newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States. In 2013, the research firm Westat conducted an in-depth survey of nearly 3000 randomly sampled E-Verify employers to assess their satisfaction with the program, shed light on how they are using E-Verify, and suggest recommendation for further improvements. The following are [some] key findings from the survey.

Employer Confidence and Satisfaction with E-Verify

1. Most E-Verify employers believe that E-Verify is effective (92 percent) and perceive it as highly accurate (89 percent).

2. Overall, 97 percent of E-Verify employers agree that the system is user friendly. They continue to express high levels of satisfaction with E-Verify’s features and processes, including enrollment and start-up, system navigation, system reliability, program resources, and technical help.

3. Most E-Verify employers agree that the mandatory tutorial adequately prepared them to use E-Verify (93 percent), that the tutorial was easy to understand (91 percent), and that it answered all of their questions (87 percent).

4. Among employers who participate in E-Verify because of federal, state, or local government requirements, 70 percent say that they would be “likely” or “very likely” to continue with the program even if they were not required to do so.

[To view remainder of summary, click here.]

Do some illegal workers escape detection?

Linda Chavez in a column of Dec. 30. 2011,[3] asserted that the failure rate for identifying illegal workers under E-Verify is almost 50 percent, arguing this disqualifies the program for mandatory use.  Other open-borders advocates also cite similar criticisms.

Jack Martin, FAIR Special Projects Director, answers the criticism succinctly:[4]

“It is clear that some illegal alien workers escape detection by the E-Verify system, but no one knows how many. The false confirmation percentage cited in the GAO [Government Accountability Office] report was an estimate by a government contractor. Since that GAO report was issued, Richard Stana, the GAO director for homeland security and justice, reported to Congress in February 2011, ‘USCIS has reduced the incidence of ... E-Verify's vulnerability to fraud.’ And further progress in reducing false confirmations will be made when E-Verify is made a national mandatory system for all employers because the proposed legislation requires SSA to report evidence of false use of SSNs.

“The irony in the claim of unreliability of the E-Verify system is that it is not being made as an argument for improving the system. It is cynically being made by defenders of illegal aliens in an effort to prevent E-Verify from being expanded nationwide. They are trying to preserve job opportunities for illegal workers.”


[1] http://blip.tv/community-media-videos/league-of-women-voters-oregon-dist-1-congressional-candidate-forum-5799173

[2] http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Verification/E-Verify/E-Verify_Native_Documents/Everify%20Studies/Key-Findings_of_E-Verify_User_Survey_2013.pdf

[3] http://www.creators.com/opinion/linda-chavez/coulter-s-self-fulfilling-prophecy-11-12-30.html

[4] http://www.steinreport.com/archives/unreliability_of_e-verify.html

E-verify employers in Oregon

Rep. Lamar Smith re-introduces mandatory E-Verify bill

Updated:  Mon, MAR 16th 2015 @ 2:00 pm EDT
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has reintroduced his Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 1147, that would require all employers in the United States to use the E-Verify system within three years. The bill was first introduced during the 112th Session of Congress where it passed through the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Smith was joined by 12 cosponsors of the legislation.
“The Legal Workforce Act is crucial legislation that puts legal workers first and enjoys broad support with the American public," Rep Smith said in a statement. "It is also free, quick, easy-to-use and effective."
“Almost 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Meanwhile, seven million people are working in the United States illegally. By expanding the E-Verify system, this bill will ensure that jobs only go to legal workers.”
NumbersUSA president Roy Beck said the bill would "fulfill the promise" to keep U.S. jobs in the hands of American citizens and those legally allowed to work here.
The Legal Workforce Act would at last substantially fulfill the promise of the 1986 amnesty to deny U.S. jobs to foreign citizens who overstay their visitor visas or cross the border illegally. In so doing, historic experience suggests, millions more jobs would both be available and be improved for the American workers and legal immigrants already here who would be recruited and trained to fill them. Most of the jobs opening up for under-employed Americans would be in construction, manufacturing, hospitality and other service occupations in which millions of Americans already are seeking full-time employment.
The Legal Workforce Act would:
Repeals I-9 System:  Repeals the current paper-based I-9 system and replaces it with a completely electronic work eligibility check, bringing the process into the 21st century. 
Gradual Phase-In:  Phases-in mandatory E-Verify participation for new hires in six month increments beginning on the date of enactment. Within six months of enactment, businesses having more than 10,000 employees are required to use E-Verify. Within 12 months of enactment, businesses having 500 to 9,999 employees are required to use E-Verify. Eighteen months after enactment, businesses having 20 to 499 employees must use E-Verify. And 24 months after enactment, businesses having 1 to 19 employees must use E-Verify.
Agriculture:  Requires that employees performing "agricultural labor or services" are only subject to an E-Verify check within 36 months of the date of enactment. 
States as Partners:  Preempts duplicative state laws mandating E-Verify use but retains the ability of states and localities to condition business licenses on the requirement that the employer use E-Verify in good faith under federal law. In addition, the bill allows states to enforce the federal E-Verify requirement and incentives them to do so by letting them keep the fines they recover from employers who violate the law. 
Protects Against Identity Theft:  The bill allows individuals to lock their Social Security number (SSN) so that it can't be used by another person to get a job. It also allows parents or legal guardians to lock the SSN of their minor child. And if a SSN shows unusual multiple use, DHS is required to lock the SSN and alert the owner that their personal information may have been compromised. 
Safe Harbor:  Grants employers safe harbor from prosecution if they use the E-Verify program in good faith, and through no fault of theirs, receive an incorrect eligibility confirmation. 
The cosponsors include: Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), John Carter (R-Texas), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Paul Cook (R-Calif.), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), Randy Forbes (R-Va.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Steve King (R-Iowa), Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.).

The case for passing E-Verify in Oregon

1.  Unemployment in Oregon hovers close to 6 percent.  The state’s U-6 unemployment rate (involuntary part-time workers) averaged 14.2 percent for 2014.   In a study done by Oregon State Professor William Jaeger in June of 2008, he estimated that there were about 100,000 illegal aliens in the Oregon work force.   A 2010 report by the Pew Hispanic Research Center estimates the number at 130,000.   It is unconscionable that American citizens have to complete for jobs against illegal aliens at any time, let alone during the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
2.  All employers should be required to use the federal E-Verify program to verify that new hires are legally entitled to work in the U.S.
3.  E-Verify is not a retrospective look into an existing labor force rather it only verifies the work eligibility of new hires.
4.  Currently the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), states that over 500,000 companies nationwide have voluntarily signed up for the E-Verify program.  E-Verify is the only free, fast, online service of its kind that verifies employees' data against millions of government records, including Social Security records, and provides results within as little as three to five seconds. 
5.  As of April 1, 2015, over 3400 companies in Oregon have voluntarily signed up for E-Verify.   
6.  All contractors doing business with the federal government are now required to use the program.
7.  A 2013 User survey by an independent firm showed high satisfaction with E-Verify: 97% said E-Verify is user friendly; 92% said E-Verify is effective; 89% said E-Verify is highly accurate.
8.  In February 2012, E-Verify added a service called Self Check, which enables citizens to test their Social Security number in the E-Verify program to confirm accuracy.  Thus anyone can make certain in advance that one’s standing as a legal worker is intact.  Self Check is also available in Spanish.
9.  DHS states that most employees are automatically confirmed as work authorized either instantly or within 24 hours.  
10.  Currently 19 states require use of E-Verify in certain circumstances:  Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Oregonians for Immigration Reform – http://www.oregonir.org
  April 2015

Claims that the E-Verify program does not have the capacity for widespread use are false

Charges are made by opponents of E-Verify that the program cannot handle the large volume of work necessary for mandatory nationwide use. These charges are refuted in statements from some of the leading officials of the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services, cited below.

1. Debunking the E-Verify Capacity Problem, by Stewart Baker, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security. May 21, 2008. (Second in a series on E-Verify issued in the DHS Leadership Journal)

"Based on a recent load testing, the system has the capacity to handle 240 million queries a year. That’s three to four times the number of people who are usually hired in a given year."

2. The following is quoted from Congressional testimony on June 10, 2008 by Jonathan R. Scharfen, Deputy Director, USCIS:

"The E-Verify program infrastructure is capable of handling the volume of queries that would be necessary for a nationwide mandatory employment verification system.

"DHS and SSA conducted cooperative end-to-end load testing of the Verification Information System (VIS), which is the database that supports E-Verify, in September of 2007. The results of the testing showed that E-Verify has the capacity to handle up to 60 million queries per year. This capacity is in line with the projected 60 million new hire queries per year that would result from mandatory E-Verify legislation applicable to all U.S. employers. DHS will continue to work with SSA to update the current pilot architecture to ensure that DHS and SSA can provide the most stable environment possible to the employer community and to create an independent environment for E-Verify queries, separate from SSA’s other processing needs."

3. Later Congressional testimony on Feb. 10, 2011 by Theresa Bertucci, Associate Director, Enterprise Services Directorate, USCIS, confirmed the capacity of the E-Verify program:

"Ensuring Future Capacity to Administer Increased Use of E-Verify.

"The E-Verify program is well-equipped to handle continued expansion. E-Verify currently has the capacity to receive at least 60 million electronic queries annually if all new hires were run through the E-Verify program. USCIS has invested in a dedicated information technology environment to transfer data from E-Verify to SSA to handle increased growth in query volume. To further help ensure continuous service in the future, USCIS expects to execute a service-level agreement with SSA in the near term. The service-level agreement will define the requirements for SSA to establish and maintain the capacity and availability of its system to support E-Verify."

4. E-Verify job-check system has room to grow, agency says, by Stephen Dinan, in The Washington Times, March 15, 2012.

" ‘We have the capacity currently to process far more queries than we currently handle. And so we can right now handle the expansion of E-Verify to additional states. But if it was mandated across the country, it would take us some time to ramp up for that exponentially greater volume,’ said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that handles legal-immigration benefits.

"An aide on the Judiciary panel said Mr. Smith's legislation [H.R. 2885] phases in the checks, which would give E-Verify a chance to ramp up. It also gives the Homeland Security secretary a waiver power to delay implementation for six months.

"As for additional resources, the aide said, the administration could submit any new needs to the Appropriations Committee. …"