According to an article on CattleNetwork.com, the American Meat Institute (AMI) has asked Congress to pass legislation that will “beef up” E-Verify by mandating the currently voluntary electronic employment verification system used by over 135,000 U.S. employers to determine the work eligibility of new hires.

The AMI communicated its message in a letter delivered to the Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security Subcommittee that called upon Congress to act to improve the E-Verify program by:

  • Addressing the problems inherent with identity theft;
  • Reducing the number of documents that can be presented at hiring;
  • Incorporating a biometric element into the program to help employers determine if documents presented relate to the individual presenting them; and
  • Mandating E-Verify for employers by phasing in universal participation over several years to better enable the government to administer the program.

The meat industry was one of the earliest adopters of E-Verify – back in 1997 when it was only available as a “pilot program” in a handful of states – and the employment verification program has been embraced by the vast majority of meat companies in the United States. AMI and its members have fought to make E-Verify available on a voluntary basis to all employers in all states.

E-Verify allows employers to check online through Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases to verify that a newly hired person’s employment eligibility verification documents are valid. The latest DHS figures show that one-in-four new hires in the U.S. are vetted by E-Verify.

Unfortunately, imposters committing identity theft have tried to use the names and valid social security numbers of other people to circumnavigate E-Verify. As a result, law abiding employers are worried about hiring unauthorized workers even though they complied with the law.

However, data compiled by independent research firm Westat from October 2008 through December 2008 showed that 96.9 percent of employees were automatically confirmed as work authorized by E-Verify either instantly or within 24 hours, requiring no further employee or employer action.

Of the 3.1 percent of employees receiving initial system mismatches – “tentative non-confirmations” or TNCs – only 0.3 percent were later confirmed work authorized after contesting and resolving the mismatch while 2.8 percent of employees received “final non-confirmations” (FNCs).

Recently, after three separate delays, the DHS announced that the regulation requiring all federal contractors to use E-Verify would finally go into effect on September 8, 2009.

A designated E-Verify service agent, I-9Compliance.com – offered by leading pre-employment screening and Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO) provider Pre-Employ.com – helps employers maintain full Form I-9/E-Verify compliance, eliminate errors, and ensure jobs for legal workers. To learn more, view a complimentary on demand webinar “E-Verify & Federal Contractors: Know The Facts” at www.i-9compliance.com/Webinars, download our complimentary white paper “15 Facts You Should Know About I-9 Compliance,” visit www.i-9Compliance.com, email sales@i-9compliance.com, or call 1-800-300-1821. 

tahearn@i-9compliance.com