E-Verify Gets It Wrong, Again

Another independent evaluation of the E-Verify program once again confirms what advocates have been saying for years—E-Verify doesn’t work. A new evaluation of the federal employment authorization program—conducted by Westat, a research company, in December 2009—is now available on the E-Verify website. The system only detected unauthorized workers about half of the time. The evaluation found the program couldn’t confirm whether the documents workers were presenting were their own. As a result, “many unauthorized workers obtain employment by committing identity fraud that cannot be detected by E-Verify,” according to Westat. The “inaccuracy rate for unauthorized workers” is about 54%.

Between April and June 2008, Westat found that 96.4% of all cases were found to be work authorized within 24 hours (automatically) while 0.5% were found to be work authorized after employees contested an initial data mismatch (i.e. a tentative nonconfirmation). The remaining 3.1% were found to be unauthorized to work (i.e. they received a final nonconfirmation) either because the employees did not contest the tentative nonconfirmation, or they did contest and were found to be unauthorized.

We have to remember that a good percentage of the approximately 3% who receive final nonconfirmations are actually work authorized. Legal workers might not contest an initial nonconfirmation because they find a different job, or because the employer never tells them that there was a problem that they should fix. And some of those 97% who are confirmed are using fake documents, but E-Verify can’t detect it.

Westat also looked into these possibilities and estimated the total “accuracy” and “inaccuracy” rates. They found that 96% of all E-Verify’s initial responses were correct. However, they also found that 4.1% of initial responses were wrong—0.7% of the time legally authorized workers were flagged as not work authorized, and perhaps most alarmingly, 3.3% of all E-Verify cases involved unauthorized workers who got through the system. In other words, in 3.3% of the cases, E-Verify did not detect that an unauthorized worker was using false documents.

Overall, E-Verify missed about half of unauthorized workers—which is the one thing that E-Verify is supposed to do—root out undocumented workers—and it fails.

It might not seem too important that 4.1% of all initial responses are wrong as people tend to focus on the 96% accurate number. But currently, only about 185,000 employers —or less than 3% of the 7-8 million U.S. employers—use E-Verify. These are relatively small numbers, especially if we look at the possibility of E-Verify being made mandatory for all employers, as some in Congress would like to do. An incorrect 4.1% initial response rate of all workers in the United States would mean that millions of workers could get wrong answers.

michelle-waslinThose inaccuracy rates are huge because they mean that U.S. citizens and other legal workers are losing their jobs because E-Verify made a mistake—and, consequently, that unauthorized workers are working because E-Verify made a mistake. Of course, many more unauthorized workers are working “off the books” and never getting checked by E-Verify.

Over the next few weeks, as the job bills make their way through Congress, we are likely to see attempts to expand E-Verify and make it mandatory. Lawmakers should keep Westat’s findings in mind as they seal the fates of millions of U.S. workers and spend billions of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.

Michele Waslin

Republished with permission from Immigration Impact.


  1. Brittanicus says

    Westat, a research company was hired to evaluate the E-Verify software for the Homeland Security Department to identify illegal labor cheating the system. The company stated that E-Verify missed so many illegal workers mainly because it cannot detect identity fraud. But then anybody with one brain cell in their head E-Verify is only as good as the databases it uses? Of course it not perfected yet? But then if 9 out of 10 illegal illegal immigrants slip though the US Border patrol gauntlet, according to the Arizona Tuscon sector, as that’s not 100 percent proof either? Work out those illegal alien numbers for yourself for those who are never snared? It’s millions each year. That why the tired old number of 12 million living here unrestrained, makes no sense either? Then let’s face it the border wall was carefully engineered never to work properly, giving critics tons of rhetoric information. There is supposedly two fences set-apart for the expeditious movement of the different policing agencies. The E-Verify system, the state-county-city police apprehension federal training program, the Southern border fence, Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrests undermined, the No match IRS verification letters, even ICE raids have all been compromised.


    On the outside they are all seen to work for the public eye, but under the skin they are either underfunded or some other mechanism used to undermine its use. Most politicians are payed-off by the massive business sector, to allow the free movement of discount labor. E-Verify was nearly crippled from the start by Sen.Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and nearly tabled before it seeing the light of day. Even though it slipped through, it is only funded for three years. Because of its powerful potential it needs to be a permanent program, that cannot be touched by the open border organizations. Every disreputable corporate concern is livid that legislators have allowed it to become very popular amongst honest business. Business owners who use illegal foreign labor have used every method to repudiate the use of E-Verify throughout America.

    Certain Governors, Mayors, judges and other elected officials have tried to blacklist E-Verify, as monetary favors for Wall Street and a whole volume of organizations such as the Catholic church, other religious groups, unions, ACLU, La Raza and open border extremists who profit from illegal immigration. American workers, citizens and legal residents must demand that E-Verify becomes permanent, fully funded and where no business remains untouched? There should be a timetable of ICE audits and lightening raids, that can even return after a month or two. Any patriotic American can call ICE and report unscrupulous companies using illegal labor. Its the duty of every law abiding citizen or resident. That anybody hiring illegal immigrants after E-Verify can detect fraudulent documentation as the computer program in the immediate future, should go to prison as they are aiding and abetting illegal labor stealing American jobs. SO E-VERIFY REJECTS YOUR JOB APPLICATION? GO TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY–TO STRAIGHTEN THE APP OUT? A good Example of not statewide using E-Verify is the SANCTUARY STATE OF CALIFORNIA–THE STATE IS NOW BROKE.

    THE LAW SHOULD ALSO BE CHANGED MAKING ILLEGAL ENTRY INTO THE US A FELONY, instead of a slap on the wrist. Only American voters can stop these travesties of our immigration system. We don’t need anymore cheap labor, as we have 15 million of our population jobless. We need a “points System” for highly skilled imported labor. We need checks and balances so immigration lawyers cannot cheat the system. We need the 1986 Immigration law enforced, with perhaps new amendments. Tell these corrupt lawmakers in Washington and your states–WHAT YOU WANT–NOT WHAT THEIR BUSINESS BENEFICIARIES WANT? The Washington toilet must be emptied, for our own survival. Call your Representative at 202-224-3121 and demand rigid immigration enforcement.

    The cost to the American people for supporting illegal immigrant families is unimaginable. Read the truth about corruption and the illegal immigration occupation of our country at NUMBERSUSA, JUDICIALWATCH, IMMIGRATIONBUZZ, RIGHTSIDENEWS & DIRECTORBLUE.

    No Copyright! Pass around. American Jobs for American Workers. One flag, one language.

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