Report: E-Verify causes concerns in Arizona
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jan 05, 2009
Arizona employers using the federal E-Verify system to check work
eligibility for their employees are worried about how often the system
initially rejects legitimate employees, according to a report by the
Homeland Security Department.
“The concern most frequently
identified by Arizona employers with E-Verify is that Tentative
Non-Confirmations are sometimes issued on work-authorized individuals,”
the report dated Dec. 22 said.
The false rejections affect
about 4,000 people for every 1,000,000 people tested by the E-Verify
system, a rate of approximately 0.4 percent, according to the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), the report said.
96,000 employers nationwide are voluntarily using E-Verify. Arizona is
one of several states that have mandated use of E-Verify on a broad
Under the Internet-based program, jointly run by DHS
and the Social Security Administration, employers collect and submit
Social Security numbers for new hires and existing employees. If the
names and numbers match those in the federal databases, the worker is
eligible to work. If there is no match, or multiple matches, the
employee is tagged as a Tentative Non-Confirmation, and further
assessment is needed that may lead to a final determination of work
eligibility or non-eligibility.
Under President Bush’s
executive order, use of E-Verify is to be made mandatory for
approximately 168,000 federal contractors beginning Jan. 15. The
E-Verify regulation pertains to federal contracts of more than $100,000
and subcontracts of more than $3,000. A coalition of business groups is
suing to keep E-Verify from being imposed on contractors.
CIS ombudsman interviewed a number of employers in Arizona to get
insight into how well the program is working. It became mandatory in
that state for most private and public employees in January 2008.
ombudsman determined from this study that mid-sized and large employers
appear relatively satisfied with the speed and accuracy of E-Verify,"
the report said. "Smaller employers, however, expressed varying levels
of concern with user-friendliness. Also, confusion remains about the
exact timing, and the specific processes, that must be followed by
employers and employees after E-Verify returns a Tentative
The ombudsman recommended increased outreach and education efforts to smaller employers.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.