Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas issued a press release announcing the expansion of the E-Verify program’s capabilities to include U.S. passport photo matching. In September 2007, photo matching capability was initially introduced in E-Verify, linking photo access to permanent resident cards (green cards) and employment authorization cards issued by USCIS. The recent update enables access to Department of State (DOS) passport records, a significant update as approximately 10 percent of all E-Verify queries involve passports or passport cards. With the increase of photo matching tools, USCIS hopes to limit the potential for fraud. Fraud concerns (such as identity theft) have been commonly identified as system weaknesses by E-Verify critics.
More than 230,000 employers are now participating in E-Verify, the electronic employment eligibility verification system operated by USCIS in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). For more information on E-Verify, see the USCIS website.