The Homeland Security Department’s E-Verify employment verification system cannot detect identity theft and fraudulent applications, according to testimony before a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee.
The Internet-based E-Verify system allows employers to check Social Security numbers for their employees and prospective employees to determine whether the numbers are valid and the employees are therefore eligible to work. However, it is not designed to detect borrowed or stolen Social Security numbers.
E-Verify is a voluntary system used by about 134,000 employers, though it is mandatory to some degree in 12 states. Under an executive order from the Bush administration, federal contractors were supposed to begin mandatory use of E-Verify in January. However, that deadline has been pushed back to Sept. 8 due to a lawsuit. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently said the Sept. 8 deadline would be firm.
The E-Verify system has been controversial due to alleged high error rates in the databases used. USCIS acknowledges a 3.1 percent rate of initial non-matches in the system.
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