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AILA Calls on Congress to Address Shortcomings in E-Verify System Before Including It in Immigration Reform

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13022746 (posted Feb. 27, 2013)"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Contact:
George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
202-507-7649 - 202-507-7675
gtzamaras@aila.org - bwoods@aila.org

Washington, DC - Today, as the House Immigration Subcommittee holds its hearing, "How E-Verify Works and How It Benefits American Employers and Workers," the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) calls upon Congress to fix the significant problems in the E-Verify program before including it in any comprehensive immigration reform package.

"The truth is that while E-Verify has the potential to be an important tool in the effort to address unauthorized employment, the system still needs improvement," said AILA President Laura Lichter. She continued, "First and foremost, if all U.S. employers were required to use E-Verify right now, at the current error rate we would see roughly 1.7 million errors-potentially impacting lawful workers. That is simply too high. Another glaring problem is that it does not detect identity fraud so confirmation by the system does not necessarily mean a person is in fact authorized to work.

"With immigration reform on the horizon, Congress must focus on a reform package that includes a roadmap to lawful permanent status for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the U.S., reforms to the legal immigration system in a way that will help businesses to grow, families to reunite and bring fairness to immigration enforcement," she concluded.

As Congress is poised to address major immigration reforms, AILA believes that effective worksite enforcement is a logical component of any practical effort to fix the ills that plague our nation's immigration system. Whether an employment verification system will build upon the E-verify program or be built from scratch, it must balance individual worker rights and legitimate employer interests. Any such system must:

  • Be implemented in a way that minimizes the burdens on businesses, especially while the economy is recovering,
  • Be effectively scalable-if E-Verify is made mandatory, employer usage will go rapidly from about 400,000 to 15 million,
  • Protect the interests of small businesses,
  • Provide the ability for businesses to correct paperwork errors,
  • Provide mechanisms to suspend the rollout of the employment verification program if patterns of errors develop,
  • Be phased-in in a way to safeguard workers' due process rights, ensure safe working conditions, and prevent worker exploitation,
  • Ensure that information is kept confidential and used only to determine work eligibility.

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.