According to an article on NextGov.com, a spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which manages the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system, says the mandatory web-based program for federal contractors that electronically verifies the legal status of workers is processing requests in a timely fashion.
Bill Wright, spokesman for USCIS, told NextGov.com that since the requirement that federal contractors awarded contracts worth more than $100,000 use the E-Verify system to check if their employees are legally eligible to work in the United States took effect on September 8, 1,408 additional companies have signed on to use E-Verify, bringing the total number of users to 150,851 as of Sept. 15. In addition, Wright said more than 10,000 federal contractors signed up in anticipation of the new requirement, even though companies have 30 days following the contract award data to sign up for E-Verify and 90 days after registering to begin checking employees.
“I’ve been trying to explain to people that even if all 169,000 federal contractors [had] signed up on Sept. 8 and they wanted all 3.8 million of their employees verified, the system [wouldn’t] crash. It [wouldn’t] even blink,” Wright was quoted as saying about E-Verify in the article. “This so-called surge is not going to happen. [Companies] won’t all do it on one day; they will spread it out obviously.”
Although recently appointed USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas had questioned whether the E-Verify program could process a surge in queries, Wright told NextGov.com that E-Verify not only successfully managed the increase but was capable of processing more, and that USCIS expects E-Verify to process about 9 million queries in fiscal 2009, an increase from the 6.6 million queries processed in fiscal 2008. Wright also said that E-Verify has been tested to handle as many as 60 million queries annually.
According to a recent USCIS update, the E-Verify system checks workers’ Social Security numbers and immigration status against Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases, and nearly 97 percent of E-Verify queries are authorized within 24 hours, with most requests being answered in seconds.
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