Posted on August 27, 2021

DHS Approved Thousands of Ineligible Immigrants to Work in U.S.

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, August 26, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security approved thousands of noncitizens to work in the U.S. even though its own system tried to flag them as probably ineligible, according to a new inspector general report that paints a grim picture of the government’s best tool for weeding out undocumented immigrant workers.

The E-Verify system also confirmed work authorization for about 280,000 noncitizens in 2019 without actually matching them to photos online, opening an avenue for fraud that undocumented immigrants could exploit to take jobs {snip}


“Until USCIS addresses E-Verify’s deficiencies, it cannot ensure the system provides accurate employment eligibility results,” the inspector general said in the report, released Wednesday.


The system works by querying a series of government databases to gauge work authorization.

If it cannot locate the right documents, it estimates a “confidence score” from 0 to 100 gauging how likely it is that the person is work authorized. Those with a 50% level of certainty or above are confirmed. Originally the level was supposed to be 70%, but the agency figured that would create too much additional work to review the extra cases that fell in that range.

According to the inspector general, nearly 3,000 applications — about 1% of the cases that were given a confidence score check — were approved during the period under study, despite falling below the 50% level.

In about 2,700 of those cases, the confidence score was a flat zero.


And another 4,000 cases were approved in 2019 even though the agency didn’t fully match their visas with their employers’ situations.

USCIS knew of this problem but said it wasn’t big enough to fix, given the tradeoffs. The agency said the alternative was to give more people initial rejection notices, even though they were eligible, then have them follow up to clear up their cases.

But the auditors said USCIS never did any formal analysis to back up that claim.