The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) has released a report examining the strengths and weaknesses of E-Verify. It urges US Congress and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take immediate steps to strengthen the electronic employment verification system while also testing alternatives for a next-generation E-Verify.
The report, The Next Generation of E-Verify: Getting Employment Verification Right, recommends immediate action to bolster the system. With the expected introduction of mandatory electronic employment verification and comprehensive reform of the immigration system, it also urges that several new voluntary pilots for a next-generation E-Verify should be carried out.
“Effective employment verification must be at the heart of comprehensive immigration reform legislation if new policies are to succeed in preventing future illegal immigration,” says report co-author and MPI senior fellow Doris Meissner, who directs MPI’s US Immigration Policy Program.
“While US Citizenship and Immigration Services has greatly improved E-Verify and reduced the program’s error rates, the system most crucially still cannot detect identity fraud,” adds report co-author Marc Rosenblum, an MPI Senior Policy Analyst. “And E-Verify requires enhanced due-process protections, compliance and auditing for misuse and identity fraud, stronger employer oversight and real enforcement of worker protections.”
The report outlines three alternatives for a next-generation E-Verify, recommending that Congress approve voluntary pilot testing of systems based on secure documents, PIN pre-verification and biometric scanning.
“Each of these approaches has strong advantages and disadvantages, which is why we are recommending that they be field-tested alongside the current system to determine the best approach for the next generation of E-Verify,” explains Rosenblum.
According to MPI, the current E-Verify model places employers at the centre of the identity authentication process, which has caused problems for employers and workers alike. The proposed pilot programmes would move from an employer-centric to a more employer-neutral model, streamlining the steps employers are required to take to confirm work authorisation for new employees; reducing the incentives and potential for identity fraud; and removing the guesswork in authenticating the identities of new employees.
“By testing new approaches now rather than locking in a single system, Congress can take advantage of the experience and new technologies that will allow E-Verify to best accomplish its vital immigration policy mission,” says Meissner. “Rushing to expand a flawed system could lead to a repeat of the mistakes of the past, and threaten the longer-term success of broader immigration policy reforms.”
The full report is available at: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/Verification_paper-071709.pdf