Senate Hearing on Employment Verification System Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

id-cardTuesday, the Senate Immigration Subcommittee held a hearing addressing electronic employment verification. While the hearing acknowledged that employment verification is an important element of comprehensive immigration reform, serious questions remain about how a mandatory employment verification system should be designed. The current momentum building must be paired with serious analysis of the many serious issues involved with a large, mandatory employment verification system.

While employment verification is viewed as an immigration enforcement tool, it is a program that affects every person working in the U.S.—including U.S. citizens. Before moving forward, several things must be addressed:

  • Every effort must be made to ensure that the data used to verify work authorization is accurate.
  • We must make sure that all workers are able to obtain the information and documentation needed to prove their identity and work authorization.
  • A complaint and redress process must be created for workers who are negatively affected by the system. Workers must be able to seek compensation from the government in the case that an error in a government database results in termination of employment.
  • Significant community outreach and education must be included to inform both employers and workers about how the system works, their rights and responsibilities under the new system, and avenues for redress in the case of error or unfair employment practices.
  • Strong privacy protections must be put in place as well as penalties for misuse of the data.
  • Finally, sufficient resources must be made available to properly implement a large new employment verification system.

Unfortunately, many people still believe that electronic employment verification is a straight forward and simple solution to the problem of unauthorized work in the U.S. However, years of experience with employer sanctions, the I-9 system, and the E-Verify program have proven that the devil is in the details, and that even the best intentions can result in harmful consequences for some people.

michelle-waslinFurthermore, no employment verification system alone can resolve the problems created by our broken immigration system. A mandatory employment verification system must be part of comprehensive immigration reform which requires undocumented immigrants to legalize their status and creates legal pathways for future workers to come to the U.S. to work.

Michele Waslin

Republished with permission from Immigration Impact.

LA Progressive

Published by the LA Progressive on July 24, 2009
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About Michele Waslin

Michele Waslin, Ph.D., is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Immigration Policy Center. She has authored several publications on immigration policy and post-9/11 immigration issues. Ms. Waslin appears regularly in English and Spanish-language media. Previously, she worked as Director of Immigration Policy Research at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Policy Coordinator at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. She received her Ph.D. in 2002 in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Political Science from Creighton University. (mwaslin@ailf.org)

Comments

  1. Michael Levine says:

    Dear Michelle,

    I enjoyed reading your article, as its subject matter is of keen interest to me.

    There is a new and completely free electronic employment history verification website that you should visit: http://www.preverify.com.

    The following press release describes PreVerify: http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20090821/bs_prweb/prweb2645354

    To see how simple it is to use PreVerify, I invite you to click on my Profile: http://www.preverify.com/profile/michael-levine/1

    Keep up the good work.

    All the best,

    Michael

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