REP. CALVERT INTRODUCES BILL TO EXTEND E-VERIFY

April 8, 2009
Press Release
On March 12, 2008, Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA) introduced legislation (H.R. 5596) to extend E-Verify, also known as the Basic Pilot Program, for ten years. The program is currently set to expire November 30, 2008.

"E-Verify has over 56,000 employers using the system and the State of Arizona recently made use of the program mandatory," said Rep. Calvert. "We must not let E-Verify expire and take away the only tool employers have to verify the legal status of their employees."

In 1996, Rep. Calvert authored the legislation that created the E-Verify program, originally called the Basic Pilot Program. From its humble beginnings in five states, it is now a nationwide voluntary program. He also has a bill, H.R. 19, to make E-Verify mandatory, requiring the largest businesses to be compliant within one year.

E-Verify is web-based, accurate and timely. Employers can sign up through the website at www.dhs.gov/everify and verify that the name matches the Social Security number given on the I-9 form entirely online.

Through E-Verify, participating employers have successfully instantly verified employment eligibility for 93% of new hires to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) database information. Of the remaining 7% that were not verified instantly, less than 1% of those employees contested the results.

Most employees who receive a mismatch notice either choose not to contest it or indicate that they will contest that finding but then fail to follow through. In addition, the mismatch notices received by persons who are not work authorized -- currently, about 5% of all E-Verify queries – are not mismatches that we would want to eliminate. Instead, these mismatches are the result of E-Verify doing what it is intended to do: quickly verifying the status of those who are work authorized and those who are not. This process is done instantly 98% of the time, according to the latest Westat report.

There are currently nearly 56,000 employers representing 224,330 work sites, signed up to use E-Verify and at year to date, over 2.1 million queries were run through the program. On average, more than 1,000 new employers are joining each week.

On January 1, 2008, the State of Arizona began requiring all employers in the state to use the E-Verify program. Currently, over 20,000 employers in Arizona participate in the E-Verify program, representing more than 35,000 work sites.

In September of 2007, E-Verify's new photo screening tool became a mandatory feature for all new and existing users of the program. The photo tool is the first step in giving employers tools to help detect identity theft in the employment eligibility process. The employers can now check the photo on their new hire's Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Permanent Resident Card ("green card") against nearly 15 million images stored in the Department of Homeland Security immigration databases. This tool is designed to detect when a photo is superimposed on an authentic immigration identification card or when the document is counterfeit but contains valid information with a different photo. At the end of FY2008, the program projects 150,000 employer participants in the E-Verify program. This would result in an estimated 5 million newly hired employees being run through the program that fiscal year.

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