DHS Secretary Napolitano Testifies on E-Verify

[Editor’s Note: today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger John Manley, U.S. Immigration Attorney and Co-Liaison to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.]

On Wednesday, October 26, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. E-Verify was one of several topics in Secretary Napolitano’s testimony.

Here is the link to the entire DHS testimony:  NAPOLITANO

Janet Naplotano, DHS Secretary, before House Judiciary CommitteeHighlights of Secretary Napolitano’s testimony include the assertion that USCIS has continued to improve E-Verify’s accuracy and efficiency, enhance customer service, and reduce fraud and misuse in a number of additional ways.  In addition, the Secretary points out that in March of this year, USCIS launched the new E-Verify Self-Check feature, an innovative service that allows individuals in the United States to check their own employment eligibility status before formally seeking employment.  Here is the portion of the testimony where Secretary Napolitano directly discusses E-Verify and Worksite Enforcement:

Worksite Enforcement and E-Verify

“DHS has implemented a smart and effective approach to worksite enforcement. By focusing on employers who knowingly and repeatedly hire illegal labor, we are targeting the root cause of illegal immigration, utilizing robust Form I-9 inspections, civil fines, and debarment, and enhancing compliance tools like E-Verify. Since Fiscal Year 2009, ICE has audited more than 6,000 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 441 companies and individuals, and imposed more than $76 million in financial sanctions—more than the total amount of audits and debarments during the entire previous administration. In Fiscal Year 2011, ICE also criminally arrested 221 employers accused of violations related to employment, an agency record. In short, our approach to worksite enforcement has been working, and has been successful at bringing employers into compliance with the law.

As a corollary, we have strengthened the efficiency and accuracy of E-Verify – our web-based employment verification system managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and designed to assist employers in complying with the law. As of Fiscal Year 2011, more than 292,000 employers have enrolled in E-Verify, representing more than 898,000 locations. More than 1,000 new employers enroll each week and the number of employers enrolled in E-Verify has more than doubled each fiscal year since 2007. In Fiscal Year 2011 alone, E-Verify processed 17.4 million employment queries.

In March of this year, USCIS launched the new E-Verify Self-Check feature, an innovative service that allows individuals in the United States to check their own employment eligibility status before formally seeking employment. This voluntary, free, fast, and secure service gives users the opportunity to submit corrections of any inaccuracies in their DHS and Social Security Administration records before applying for jobs, thereby making the process more efficient for employees and employers. The Self Check service is currently available in both English and Spanish to users who maintain an address in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Self Check will be available nationwide by March 2012.

USCIS has continued to improve E-Verify’s accuracy and efficiency, enhance customer service, and reduce fraud and misuse in a number of additional ways. To improve E-Verify’s accuracy, USCIS reduced mismatches for naturalized and derivative U.S. citizens by adding naturalization data and U.S. passport data to E-Verify. Because of this enhancement, in Fiscal Year 2011, more than 80,000 queries that previously would have received an initial mismatch requiring correction at the secondary verification stage were automatically verified as employment authorized. In June 2010, E-Verify launched improved navigational tools to enhance ease-of-use, minimize errors, and bolster compliance with clear terms of use. USCIS also has increased its staff dedicated to E-Verify monitoring and compliance, adding 80 staff positions to support monitoring and compliance since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2010. Finally, to more effectively address identity theft, USCIS now allows for the verification of passport photos through the E-Verify system.”

Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.

To learn more about how I-9 Compliance Software can help you comply with Form I-9 and E-Verify requirements, click here.


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