E-Verify attacks all workers
The current anti-immigrant wave sets up the conditions for mandatory employment verification (“E-Verify”) in all sectors of the American economy. E-Verify is a web-based system in which an employer verifies the identity and employment eligibility of a worker via the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The E-Verify system electronically matches information provided by workers on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If the E-Verify system is unable to verify the identity and the employment eligibility of a worker, the E-Verify system gives a mismatch and then informs employers that the worker is ineligible for employment.
The E-Verify system is voluntary for use by employers in the private sector. Some employers may be required to participate in E-Verify as a result of a legal ruling. Employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause are required to use in E-Verify as a condition of federal contracting.
Employers may also be required to participate in E-Verify if their states have legislation mandating the use of E-Verify, for example, as a condition of business licensing. Therefore, E-Verify has become mandatory for many employers in many states with anti-immigrant legislatures. It should come as no surprise to learn that Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah require all or most employers to use E-Verify.
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, stalled in Congress, will provide a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants after waiting eight years. Also, this bill mandates the creation of a task force comprised of the departments of Labor, Homeland Security, labor unions, employers, and civil rights organizations to improve the use of “E-verify” across all sectors of the American economy.
Another immigration bill, also stalled in Congress, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA), will provide farm workers with a green card after working eight years in the fields and the possibility of becoming citizens after 13 years. This bill as written will expand the H-2A visa program, which allows farmers to hire foreign-born workers for agriculture. More vulnerable immigrants are at the mercy of their employers in farming at a time when this program has been dogged with allegations of wage theft and employers providing low quality meals. Lastly, this bill directly immediately mandates the use of the “E-Verify” system in the agricultural sector of the economy.
Both the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (“FWMA”) will expand or mandate the use of the E-Verify system. This will assist the anti-immigrant efforts in America and create more difficult conditions for future undocumented workers to find work.
Workers in America regardless of race or color will suffer the effects of a possible nationwide mandatory E-verify system. Every single worker in America will be subjected to the E-verify system if it becomes mandatory. Can you imagine not getting hired by an employer because DHS and Social Security Administration are not able to verify your identity because your name and Social Security number do not match in their computer systems?
In this context, I tell you E-Verify is bad for America. Native-born persons and immigrants will suffer racism, humiliation, and job discrimination as direct result of a nationwide policy to mandate the use of E-Verify by all employers.