A recently released report shows that the E-Verify system has improved, yet there are still significant problems with identifying legally authorized workers. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) commissioned an external company (Westat) to review E-Verify, the electronic employment eligibility verification system operated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The “good news” from the report is that over 95 percent of workers are instantly confirmed as work authorized. However, the system still has an overall error rate of 4.1 percent, which includes an inaccuracy rate of approximately 54 percent for unauthorized workers. This essentially means E-Verify incorrectly reports to participating employers that illegal workers are legal more than half the time. The report indicates that identity fraud is the primary problem in this context and recommends improving fraud detection systems and possibly incorporating fingerprints and/or biometrics into the E-Verify system.
In the meantime, E-Verify participation has expanded to over 180,000 employers nationwide, in large part due to E-Verify being made mandatory for certain federal contractors and employers in certain states (such as Arizona and Mississippi). In addition, more states are considering legislation to require E-Verify participation for state government contractors.