E-Verify has been touted as the best and most secure avenue for employers to verify the immigration status of workers. Now, it seems that undocumented immigrants that have well-made documents with a real person's data are likely to slip past E-Verify's electronic safety net. That's the finding of a report evaluating E-Verify by Westat, a Rockville, Md.-based research firm.
The report was posted in mid-January to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Web site. The evaluation used models to estimate that E-Verify "verified" about 54 percent of unauthorized workers-- more specifically, that actual statistic lies somewhere between 37 percent and 64 percent.
In reality that amounts to about 3.3 percent of all requests made; the vast majority of job applicants screened are authorized to work in the United States. Only 6.2 percent of applicants screened are estimated to be unauthorized.
USCIS — part of the Department of Homeland Security — projects that the "approved" unauthorized workers slip through E-Verify because they are committing identity fraud, which the system does not readily catch.
"Strengthening E-Verify's ability to better detect and identity fraud is a priority," the agency said responding to the report. "USCIS is adding more photographs to the system, working to partner with states on data-sharing initiatives to prevent identity fraud, and developing methods to find and prevent stolen identities from being used in the system."
E-Verify is a free nationwide program used by more than 180,000 employers at more than 675,000 worksites.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration — like the Bush administration — is leaning on employers to cut down on hiring undocumented immigrants. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement division is currently conducting audits of thousands of companies' hiring records nationwide.