During recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano credited the mandatory E-Verify laws in the states for the system’s rapid growth in past years. While governor of Arizona, Napolitano made E-Verify mandatory for all employers in the state.
Napolitano’s testimony under the heading “Strengthening Work Eligibility Verification through E-Verify” includes the following statements:
Additionally, DHS is continuing to strengthen the E-Verify system that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) operates in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide quick confirmation of an employee’s work eligibility.
E-Verify is an essential tool for employers to maintain a legal workforce. E-Verify has grown rapidly over the past several years – not only making it a cornerstone of workplace enforcement across the country, but also testifying to its improvement. More than 122,000 U.S. employers representing over 468,000 hiring locations are enrolled in E-Verify. The growth is continuing at a solid clip, due in large part to state laws requiring the use of E-Verify. Currently, an average of 1,000 employers are signing up for E-Verify each week. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the last quarter of FY08 indicate that over 14 percent of all non-agriculture new hires in the U.S. are run through E-Verify.
The E-Verify system is prepared for an increase in its use, and DHS is continually improving the system. DHS continues to focus its efforts on improving and expanding that system as it grows, cracking down on fraud, misuse, and the potential for discrimination.
E-Verify is continuously improving its accuracy. According to the most recent surveys, approximately 96.1 percent of all cases queried through E-Verify are automatically found to be employment authorized. This is compared to a 79 percent immediate confirmation rate in 2002. The remaining 3.9 percent resulted in a mismatch, or tentative non-confirmation (TNC), cases where the tentative lack of a match needs further investigation. Only 0.4 percent of the total application pool successfully contested their cases. The remaining 3.5 percent of the total pool were not found employment authorized and either did not contest their cases or unsuccessfully contested them.
Nevertheless, room for improvement always remains. DHS and SSA are continuously enhancing E-Verify processes to decrease mismatches, improve the system’s usability and the accuracy of its databases, strengthen training and monitoring of employers and protect employees against discrimination and other abuses.
We are continually working to ensure that E-Verify is non-burdensome to employers. The system rates higher than average on the American Customer Satisfaction Index Survey, scoring an 83 out of a possible 100 points on a recent survey, above the latest Federal Government satisfaction index of 69 percent.
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