E-Verify as digital border fence

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

If you want to do business with the federal government, come September, you’ll have to verify every one of your workers’ immigration status with the E-Verify system. However, Homeland Security will stop sending Social Security “no-match” letters to employers asking them to resolve citizenship status or fire the workers.

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) has supported the E-Verify program in the past, pointing to his own use of it. “If Congress can use it, anybody can use it. It’s that simple,” he tells FederalNewsRadio.

Bilbray believes the program gets to the heart of a major problem for his constituency and the nation as a whole. “We won’t need border fences if there’s no major attraction – things like employment,” for illegal immigrants.

This is how you eliminate illegal immigration is you eliminate the major source of it and that’s illegal employment, and that really gets to the problem. All these other things we’re doing are treating symptoms, but this E-Verify addresses the source of the problem and clarifies to every employer who they can hire and who they shouldn’t hire, and that way, we’re able to, as federal agents, go after the bad guys who are knowingly hiring the illegals and not waste our time and our efforts on people who might accidentally do it.

The so-called “no-match rule” allowing the government to use Social Security data to find illegal immigrants was put on hold by a federal court October 2007. Opponents of the plan claimed “some mistakes are just mistakes and not proof of fraud”, according to the Los Angeles Times.

While touting the current efficiency of the program, Bilbray does have concerns. Not so much about the program, but about its implementation.

Backing off on the “no-match” letters we’re not happy about when we’ve got data that says a lot of those are true. We shouldn’t back down on all of them. We ought to just require everybody go back and use E-Verify. Instead of just dropping the issue, they should be sending notice to these employers, say “Go to E-Verify immediately,” check to see if that happens, and with the success level of E-Verify we can then take these no-matches and cull out the ones that are problems. Immediately, within seconds, people are notified if a Social Security number and a name matches.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, “Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to use E-Verify beginning September 8, 2009. Executive Order 12989 mandates the electronic verification of all employees working on any federal contract.”

On the Web:

DHS – E-Verify

Los Angeles Times – U.S. to require contractors to use E-Verify

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