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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

CATO: E-VERIFY NUMBERS JUST DON'T ADD UP

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The Cato Institute's Jim Harper has been effectively challenging the Department of Homeland Security's assertion that the false positive rate with the E-Verify program is negligible. Here is Harper's latest analysis:

Yesterday at a meeting of the DHS Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee,
a new data point opened a small window onto the situation of the 5.3%.
To review, 94.2% of the workers submitted to the system are confirmed
as eligible for work within 24 hours. Of the 5.8% tentatively
nonconfirmed, .5% successfully contest their nonconfirmations, leaving
us with 5.3% who receive final nonconfirmations for reasons yet unknown.



Staff of the DHS' U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
bureau reported yesterday that they had recently added a "doublecheck"
on tentative nonconfirmations, asking employers to review the data they
had entered for errors. During the two months this has been in place,
it has lowered the tentative nonconfirmation rate by 30%. That's right
- 30% of the tentative nonconfirmations had been caused by employers'
fat fingers. ("Fat fingers" is not a knock on employers' fitness - it's
a techie term for data entry errors.)



If we assume that the figures recited above are from a period before
the new fat-finger doublecheck, the 5.8% tentative nonconfirmation rate
should have dropped 1.74% since the double-check was implemented. Next,
assume (generously) that all of the .5% successfully contesting their
tentative nonconfirmations were part of this cohort - the victims of
employers' fat fingers. This leaves 1.24% of workers submitted to
E-Verify during this period who were eligible to work but victims of
employers' data entry errors - and who failed to contest their
nonconfirmations.



There is plenty of room for error in this extrapolation, and I'll
happily publish refinements or corrections to what I've written here,
but it looks like more than 1 in 100 employees are tentatively
nonconfirmed by E-Verify and go on to final nonconfirmation even though
they are eligible to work under the immigration laws. That's a huge
percentage considering that millions of Americans' employability is on
the line. The burden is on DHS and other proponents of electronic
employment eligibility verification to figure out what's going on and
to fix it.

Some of the folks in the comments have been challenging my assertion that employers will have to fire workers if they are unable to resolve their problems in 8 days. Let me clarify how E-Verify works. If an employer receives a tentative non-confirmation notice, the worker is to be notified and given eight days to resolve the problem with the Social Security Administation of DHS. After ten days the employer is to run the employee's name again through E-Verify. The employer will either get a confirmation, a final non-confirmation or notice that SSA or DHS is still working on it. DHS and SSA are using ten days as the target to finish processing in each case where there is an initial non-confirmation. That means that in the vast majority of cases, ten days is the limit and then the employee must be terminated. While it is true that DHS or SSA could keep a matter open and en employer cannot terminate while that is going on, these are not the people I'm concerned as much about. I'm talking about the 1% or more that Jim Harper is mentioning - people who get an incorrect final nonconfirmation and who are terminated after ten days despite the fact that they still are trying to get the problem corrected. As Harper notes, 1% is an enormous percentage and could have devastating effects on many Americans.




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Comments

  1. hmm's Avatar
    I thought it is a common knowledge that the Government is telling lies on a regular basis. No surprizes here.

    Now there IS a way to implement e-verify right now the way they want it; they just have to hire thousands of service representatives to handle database errors over the phone in real time. When you have an issue with a (decent) credit card or insurance company it can be resolved while you wait on the line. If Mastercard can afford it, so can US Government, they are just to make it a priority. And it will become a priority once 1 million US citizens lose their jobs.
  2. Captain Frith's Avatar
    Currently the IRS will not accept an individual's income tax return if there is a"mismatch'. The filer or the dependent (or his rep) must visit a SSA office and get the issue resolved. The vast majority of the problems are due to an individual having two last names or there is a misspelled name. ALL, I repeat, all of those cases I have sent to the SSA were resolved. It is to the recipient's benefit to get his SSN/Name problem resolved. In that manner all of his/her earnings are properly credit to the SSA retirement account.
    E-verify is helping more than it will ever harm. In a few years 99.9% of the mismatches will be resolved and the SSA clerk will be sitting around like a Maytag repairman.
  3. Frustrated Teacher's Avatar
    I have paid a lot of money in legal fees and filing fees to be here in legal status. Now after a long wait and lots of $$ I have work permit for a year. Alas, I have now had 3 job offers
    in Science and Teaching that have been reversed due to E verify not functioning correctly. The employers have students to consider and have had to go to another candidate at short notice in order to have a teacher "on deck". Meanwhile the clock is running down on the work permit, This is an absolute farce, how can we as employees take the issue into our own hands and do the due diligence ourselves??
  4. 's Avatar
    Here is the third door with its lower pane now crack- free. New theory: Perhaps The[ ...
  5. Green Card's Avatar
    From a humanitarian perspective, our fellow human beings, who migrate to support their families, continue to suffer at the hands of immigration policies that separate them from family members and drive them into remote parts of the American desert, sometimes to their deaths. This suffering should not continue.

    Now is the time to address this pressing humanitarian issue which affects so many lives and undermines basic human dignity. Our society should no longer tolerate a status quo that perpetuates a permanent underclass of persons and benefits from their labor without offering them legal protections.
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