Friday, February 11, 2011


This article linked by Thoreau is pretty frightening. The main issue seems to be the combination of error rate and lack of transparency. Two points of great interest:

And the results have been devastating. U.S. workers excited to start a new job are instead thrust into bureaucratic limbo as they try to sort out government mistakes. Their new employers hire, then fire them and never tell them why; or worse, they might never be hired in the first place and not know why . . . According to government reports, the program (even after years of work) has a stubbornly high error rate and well-documented problems in attempts to resolve those errors. According to the most conservative numbers, at least 80,000 American workers lost a new job last year because of a mistake in the system. If E-Verify were mandatory, that number would rise to 770,000


Ultimately the most brutal irony is that E-Verify doesn’t work. According to government-required audits, 54 percent of those not allowed to work in the U.S. were actually approved by the system.

Even worse:

The government mechanism to fix errors is a Kafkaesque tragedy. There is currently no court remedy to force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fix an error. Many times those errors are as simple as an incorrect data entry or a name change, but in order to uncover the error, workers have to file letters with different parts of the agency seeking copies of their records

The part that is the most painful about this process is that being denied employment is a cost (especially in the current employment environment). What happens if we refuse a person employment (incorrectly) and their unemployment insurance is about to expire? Worse, if they do not know why they were flagged then it might be years before they find out what went wrong.

This doesn't seem like a good idea at all.

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