Napolitano backs E-Verify

DHS secretary says online worker eligibility program is an important tool for employers

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she is a big supporter of E-Verify, the Web-based system employers can use to check that newly hired employees are legally eligible to work.

The system lets employers compare information provided by new employees against records in the Social Security Administration’s database and the Homeland Security Department’s immigration databases. DHS runs the program in partnership with SSA.

During a speech at the Aspen Institute in Washington on June 3, Napolitano said the system is a way for employers to make sure they haven’t hired unauthorized workers in violation of immigration laws.

“We'll be asking the Congress as part of our ongoing efforts in the immigration field to reauthorize E-Verify to put more money into E-Verify as part of our budget, by the way,” she said. “Because I think that if we're going to crack down on employers, we also on the safe side ought to have mechanisms to make it easier for them to comply with the law.”

Critics of E-Verify say errors in government databases can cause an unacceptable rate of incorrect results. In general, the system is voluntary and free for employers, but a controversial executive order by former President George W. Bush would have required about 168,000 federal contractors to begin using E-Verify in January.

The Obama administration has delayed that requirement four times, and the date for implementing it is now set for Sept. 8. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a lawsuit challenging the requirement, and the case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

In prepared remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, Napolitano said E-Verify’s accuracy was continually improving, and more than 122,000 employers use the system.

She defended the system's accuracy by explaining its statistics this way: The most recent surveys found that 96.1 percent of cases queried through the system automatically authorized the employees for work, and 3.9 percent showed a mismatch or a tentative non-confirmation. Also, only 0.4 percent of the total number of candidates had successfully contested an adverse initial decision about their eligibility, while the other 3.5 percent remained ineligible.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Wed, Jun 10, 2009 Arizona Patriot Az

Yes please call your Governors, Senators and Representatives, E-Verify must be implemented immediately! This is not just an Arizona issue. The Border Patrol has a check point (Nazi like)50-60 miles north of the border but no one on the actual border except where cars drive through. They harass American's and illegal aliens walk/run through the open area's!If terrorist are here it is because we allowed them to enter the country!

Fri, Jun 5, 2009 Becky

For the fourth time, the Obama administration has postponed the executive order requiring all federal contractors to use the E-Verify employment verification system. It is clear that the Obama administration is trying to prevent this executive order from going into effect, thereby protecting illegal alien workers and preventing 14 million unemployed Americans from finding jobs.

Let the President hear your voice, join and send him a fax that you are outraged with his continuing to pander to the demands of illegal aliens.

Thu, Jun 4, 2009 Brittanicus Indianapolis, IN

Of course we need the National Guard on the border. But just like E-Verify, ICE raids or any other illegal immigration deterrent, it will be delayed or killed. Secretary Napolitano tells the people that she supports E-Verify, then delays it for federal contractors. In other words her speeches inspire at the offset, but are insincere, just like the majority of our politicians. They lie through the teeth and have no intentions of closing the border, stopping the millions of illegal aliens from crossing the border. It's all lip service because the majority are in the deep pockets of the free traders, open border zealots. Our politicians must strengthen immigration laws, not weaken them or not enforcing them like the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli bill.CALL YOUR SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE AND DEMAND E-VERIFY, REAL ID ACT, POLICE ENFORCEMENT LAW 247(g) AND THE 1986 SIMPSON/MAZZOLI BILL. Illegal Immigration effects everybody, your taxes, your jobs, your language, your culture, your moral integrity, your religion. YOU CAN MAKE AN IMMENSE DIFFERENCE? Senate & Representative for your contact at: (202) 224-3121: THESE PEOPLE ARE YOUR PUBLIC ENEMY EVEN THOUGH THEY SWORE AN OATH TO YOU?. Demand E-Verify today. SAY NO TO AMNESTY!

Thu, Jun 4, 2009 Matt

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a lawsuit challenging the requirement".....God forbid that sleezy employers be cut off from slave wage labor while letting the rest of society make up for those low wages thru public services. E-Verify works and that is a really scary thing to the no-borders crowd.

Thu, Jun 4, 2009 RoBoTech

This is tripe. If DHS (Obama Admin) supports E Verify, then why have they postponed it 4 times. There's no will in this Admin to tackle Illegal Immigration, short of Amnesty, just as there was none in the Bush Admin. Obama IS Bush II. Now going for 12 years. Chamber of Commerce will not stop E Verify, and Obama knows it. E Verify has been blessed in every Federal lawsuit for the last 4 years. It's just an excuse to push E Verify as a beer chip to get Comprehensive Immigration through this fall. Coincidentally, E Verify starts in September. Or does it?

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