E.g., 06/30/2024
E.g., 06/30/2024
The Next Generation of E-Verify: Getting Employment Verification Right
July 2009

The Next Generation of E-Verify: Getting Employment Verification Right

While E-Verify, the government’s voluntary electronic verification pilot program, has demonstrated success in verifying individuals’ authorization to work, it is incapable of authenticating workers’ identity, and thus, is vulnerable to fraud based on stolen identities. The employer-centric nature of E-Verify also places a heavy burden on employers to use the system correctly and increases the potential for off-the-books employment.

This report recommends that, as part of comprehensive immigration reform, Congress and the Department of Homeland Security should continue to build, improve, and invest in E-Verify while providing for pilots to field-test new approaches that would tap new technologies and practices to overcome the core weaknesses of the current system.

Three next-generation pilot models are proposed: secure, biometric work authorization cards; a PIN pre-verification system activated by workers; and a biometric scanning system permitting employers to capture biometric data from workers at the point of hire. The report describes the components of the possible pilot programs and outlines their advantages and disadvantages, with particular attention paid to each concept’s anticipated effectiveness at preventing identity fraud, degree to which employers can remain neutral actors, operational costs and implementation challenges, impact on employers and workers, and appeal to stakeholders. Because one of these systems may or may not emerge as the best fit for workers and employers, authors stress the need for Congress to continue strengthening the existing E-Verify system by improving due-process protections, enforcement measures, and compliance monitoring, until one of the alternative systems proves through pilot testing to be a sufficient improvement to merit replacing it.

Table of Contents 

I.  Introduction

II. Background

III. E-Verify: How Does it Work? What Are its Limitations

IV. The E-Verify Model: Is it Right for Mandatory Electronic Verification?

V. A Next-Generation E-Verify: What Would an Employer-Neutral System Look Like?

VI. Recommendations for E-Verify Improvements: What Reforms Are Needed?

VII. Conclusion