E-Verify System

I was wondering if any of you had used the E-Verify System, which compares the information you get from an employee on the I-9 to what is in the SSA and DHS systems.  I just finished reading an article from an Emplolyment Law Firm newsletter to which I subscribe.  This article talks about the new rules that make it mandatory for federal contractors to use this system, but also gives some advice about not using the system if you are not mandated to do so.  The reason for this is that you have to Sign a Memorandum of Understanding in order to use the system, which gives federal agents access to your facilities without a warrant.  It also requires you to allow DHS and SSA Agents to interview your employees without a warrant.  They also talk about the millions of errors that are in the system, causing employers to terminate employees when they are legally able to work in the US.

This is the first article I have read about the access to facilities and employees without a warrant.  I have heard about the errors.  Anyone using the system?  What has been your experience with this system?


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  • I agree with the article.  E-Verify, to me, is a double edged sword for employers.  On one hand, it's a good tool, on the other, it can bite you in the hind end.

    Just ask Swift & Co.  Their plants were raided by ICE BECAUSE they used the system.  Each of their plants were "seperate" and used the old "version" of E-Verify (really, they just changed the name) and when a new hire passed through the process everything was wonderful.  What Swift didn't know is that some employees had used stolen identities.  And then shared or sold those same identities to those applying for jobs at other Swift plants.  Since they had different databases and payroll systems no one at Swift ever caught it.  So a plant in AZ got the go ahead from E-Verify and a plant in CO got the same OK on someone with the same identifying documents. 

    Then one day ICE came knocking and raided Swift's plants.  The system apparently knew (or was audited by someone who figured it out) that there were multiple people using the same documents.  Of course it did, how could someone apply for a job in AZ, CO, NM, etc.  The documents they used were either stolen or forged.  Yet the system had told Swift that the documents were valid and Swift hired the employees based on that information.  Then ICE figured it out, and raided the plants, hauling off the employees in buses to illegal immigration camps.  Sad day for Swift. 

    I'm sure you can find many articles on Swift Co if you google.

  • Did the system work though? Isn't the goal to have a legal workforce? Did the promise that e-verify makes that use of the system is proof that the company didn't "knowingly hire" illegal aliens stand up? Was the action taken against those who had committed the crimes of fraud and identity theft or against officials who hired them?

    Those types of stolen or forged documents would be near imposible to catch if there was no system at all. Imagine if they had only been shared with other illegal aliens in the same area working for different companies. They might never be caught without e-verify.

    I do have a dog in the fight so to speak So take it for what it's worth.

  • The last I heard on it was that charges against the company were not yet made but were pending investigation.

    But still, Swift got hit hard with losing such a large part of their workforce.  They knew that a raid was possible due to the actions of ICE immediately prior to the date of the raid.  They tried to work with ICE to do this in a quieter way that would be less disruptive.  But ICE wouldn't hear of it, pulled up with their busses, and started loading on the illegal workers. 

    My point is that Swift did everything they could possibly do.  The system told them the employees were GOOD to work in the US.  The system failed them because the employees were not legal.

  • Because of all of these issues SHRM is endorsing an Employment Verification Bill that was introduced in the US House. It is H.R. 5515 - New Employee Verification Act (NEVA).  This bill would replace the current employer verification process with a new electonic verification system - Electronic Employment Verification System (EEVS).  From what I have read, the new system would use your state new hire reporting process to access this system.  This system would use the Social Security Administration Database and the Department of Homeland Security Database to verify eligibility. 

    I guess we will have to wait and see how this plays out in Congress.

  • Since President Bush signed the executive order in June requiring use of an E-verify system, will this be accessed by information that is downloaded to a state new hire website? 
  • No, E-verify has not changed.  It isn't connected to any of the states so you'll have to use E-verify (if you're a fed contractor or in one of the states requiring it) and go into the state website to post your new hires.
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