Touted by some as an essential tool for stopping illegal immigration, an independent research firm says the E-Verify system flags less than half the number of illegal workers it checks.
E-Verify, a free online program used voluntarily by employers, fails to catch 54 percent of the illegal workers run through the system because it can’t detect identity fraud, the report states.
Critics say the report shows the need to find more effective ways to stop employers who willingly violate immigration laws.
Immigration officials note the report’s finding that E-Verify’s overall accuracy rate for legal and illegal workers is 96 percent.
Only 6 percent of the names run through E-Verify databases involve illegal workers. Fifty-four percent of those illegal workers are not cleared to work, the report says.
Federal officials say recent improvements to E-Verify include changes to reduce typographical errors; a photo-screening tool to combat document fraud; and establishment of a monitoring and compliance unit to detect and deter identity fraud, discrimination and misuse.
While conceding that E-Verify is “not perfect,” the system is “much more effective than the Form I-9 (paper) verification process used by employers” not participating in the program, according to the report.