E-Verify is a Web-based program (www.USCIS.gov/selfcheck ) run by the U.S. Deptartment of Homeland Security. This program is simple and it works. It worked for our company. It quickly identifies individuals working illegally in the United States and protects jobs for legal workers. It identified 7 illegals working in ProTec.
It checks the Social Security numbers of new hires to ensure they are authorized to work in the U.S. It takes our HR Manager Stacy Snow less than 5 minutes to run the check and we do it prior to hiring a new employee. So it’s a great service, it’s quick and it’s FREE.
Because there are approximately 7 million illegal immigrants in the US workforce (plus or minus 3 million), the US could open up millions of jobs for unemployed Americans by simply requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. Even though E-Verify is not mandatory, over 375,000 businesses voluntarily use it. Another 2,200 new businesses sign up each week. There are 7,705,018 ( http://www.census.gov/econ/smallbus.html ) US firms employing 120,604,265 workers. Thus only 4% of all employers are using E-Verify.
ProTec began using the program in 2001. We were surprised to learn we had illegals working in our company. All 7 were terminated, but had 90 days to get their paperwork corrected to be reinstated. None of them returned to the company although we would have gladly taken them back since they had already had the benefit of our training and experience.
Their departure led us to hire 7 new “legal” US workers. I suspect that the same thing would happen if 7,000,000 illegal workers were suddenly subject to E-Verify by all US businesses.
The current unemployment rate hit 8.3 percent again and is even worse for American minorities. Unemployment for Hispanics has risen to 11 percent, and for black Americans it has jumped to nearly 14 percent. This is only the official unemployment rate which tracks those “still looking” for a new job by the States’ EDD’s. Real unemployment is at 15% nationally NOT including those who are working part-time but want full-time work.
Despite this bad news, there also is good news: Congress and the Obama Administration have the opportunity to come together and enact a bill that could open up countless jobs for unemployed American minorities, the Legal Workforce Act. This bill would require all U.S. employers to use the E-Verify program and would be one of the fastest ways to help unemployed Americans get back on the payroll to earn a living.
Outside evaluations have found that the vast majority of employers using E-Verify think it is an effective and reliable tool for checking the legal status of their employees. E-Verify recently received an exceptionally high overall customer-satisfaction score — 82 out of 100 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index scale. That is well above the overall Federal government’s score of 69.
The public also supports E-Verify. A new Pulse Opinion Research poll confirms that the American people from all political affiliations and races overwhelmingly support the use of E-Verify.
The poll found that 78 percent of likely voters favor mandating that all employers electronically verify the immigration status of their workers. Among those who expressed an opinion, 94 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of independents, 81 percent of Democrats, and 88 percent of moderates of all parties said they favor requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. Eighty-one percent of black Americans and 76 percent of other minorities, including Hispanic- and Asian-Americans, agreed. With these polling numbers, an E-Verify expansion arguably is one of the most popular and nonpartisan ways to create new jobs (and eliminate the illegal immigration problem as a national issue).
The facts show E-Verify and other work-site enforcement activities actually benefit minority workers by opening up jobs, increasing wages and reducing job competition by reducing an illegal workforce.
For example, after illegal workers are arrested and detained during Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) work-site enforcement actions, many businesses replace them with American minorities.
It’s past time for the administration to work with Congress on a solution to unemployment AND illegal immigration that actually works: E-Verify. We should expand this program now so future jobs reports bring good news to American households.