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E-Verify for work authorization: the debate continues

On behalf of  Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. posted in Employment Immigration on Friday, May 17, 2013.

The E-Verify program continues to be the subject of lively debate. V-Verify is a program that uses a large database to check immigration status in order to determine whether someone is eligible to work legally in the U.S.

The program has come under fire in Minnesota and across the country for several reasons. Many employers say use of the database should not be mandatory because it mistakenly too many workers as ineligible to work when they are actually eligible. We discussed this issue in our April 26 post.

What to do about E-Verify has become a sticking point for now in the effort to get a comprehensive immigtration reform bill through Congress. This week, the House Judiciary held hearings not on the comprehensive bill, but on a standalone bill to make E-Verify mandatory for employers.

Naturally, employers are greatly concerned about the cost of complying with such a requirement. A 2010 estimate by Bloomberg put the overall cost at $2.7 billion.

Larger businesses are of course better able to absord those costs than smaller ones. After all, large companies tend to have formal HR offices to handle a host of human resources matters. Smaller businesses, however, are often hard-pressed to devote the staff time needed to handle regulatory compliance.

It is even harder for small business to see the rationale for doing this for E-Verify when E-Verify results in so many errors. According to one estimate, as many as 156,000 people with work authorization could lose their jobs due to these errors.

In short, E-Verify, is hardly a quick fix for the nation’s immigration challenges. With about 11 million undocumented people currently in the U.S., the need for comprehensive immigration reform will not go pay, even if the E-Verify error rate for work authorization goes down.

Source: Opinion: On its own, E-verify places too heavy a burden on small businesses,” The Washington Post, David Borris, Christina McNeil and ReShonda Young Harrison, 5-15-13

 

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