Report: E-Verify Misses a Lot of Illegal Workers

Stephen Wall, San Bernardino Sun, February 25, 2010

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.

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Critics say the report shows the need to find more effective ways to stop employers who willingly violate immigration laws.

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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.

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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.

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