E-Verify Explainer With The ACLU

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Check out: https://www.aclu.org/e-verify

You shouldn’t need approval to work, but that’s exactly what E-Verify does. Chris Calabrese, Senior Legislative Counsel with the ACLU, explains the lurking pitfalls with mandatory E-Verify.

Currently, E-Verify is a largely voluntary system where employers can check with the Department of Homeland Security to see if someone is allowed to work. Basically it’s a giant list of everyone — immigrants and citizens — legally in the United States.

We’ve been raising concerns about E-Verify for years (along with lots of other groups!). Errors in the system will keep people from working. Gathering a huge pool of data will be an identity thief’s dream. Moves to mandatory E-Verify will create a bureaucracy and privacy risk that will affect us all. And all of this costs money – lots of it.

To get more information, go to: http:www.aclu.org/e-verify

Transcript:

– Hi, I’m Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the ACLU. I’m here to talk to you today about E-Verify. We’re gonna do this a little differently today. I’m actually gonna ask the questions and give the answers. It’s a little wacky, but just go with it. Can you tell us, in one sentence, what E-Verify is? E-Verify is, in essence, a giant list of everybody in the United States who’s allowed to work. – This program enables employers to verify that their employees are authorized to work in the United States. – So this is supposed to just affect undocumented workers, not anybody else, right? The problem with E-Verify is, when you make a giant list of everybody who’s able to work in the United States, that list has to be completely accurate, ’cause if there are mistakes in it, the result is, those mistakes, those mistaken people, can’t work. Let me give you an example. There’s 154 million workers in the United States. If the system is wrong just 1% of the time, that’s 1.5 million people who have to fix their record with the federal database. Can’t we fix this if the employers just follow the rules? Unfortunately, those rules really haven’t been set up right now. And E-Verify is actually compiled from lots of different government databases. It’s not just one list. It’s from all over the place. So it can be hard to figure out, where did that error come from? Who do I go to to get it fixed? But we can trust that the information is secure, right? The government’s used to keeping big databases. Won’t they be able to keep all this information without any leaks or problems? E-Verify is an enormous government database. It’s got your name, your Social Security number, your date of birth, your address, your employer, where–your nation of origin. It’s really a gold mine for an identity thief or a criminal who wants to misuse personal information. But of course E-Verify will keep us from hiring undocumented workers, right? It’s going to at least do that much. If you think about it, many of the employers who hire undocumented aliens know they’re undocumented. That’s the business model. They’re hiring these folks so they can pay them under the table, not give them benefits, not pay them a fair wage that a U.S. worker would expect. Those people aren’t playing by the rules now. Why are they gonna play by the rules under an E-Verify system? E-Verify isn’t just a government mandate. It’s also a government bureaucracy. The E-Verify handbook: 84 pages long. If you’re a small-business owner who hires two or three or five people a year, you’re responsible for complying with that 84-page manual. E-Verify is expensive too. The Government Accountability Office estimated that it would cost more than $1 billion to implement it nationally. The fundamental problem with E-Verify, beyond keeping people from working, is, it changes the relationship between the citizen and the state. We live in a society where we’re used to being innocent until proven guilty. Well, under E-Verify, if the government says you can’t work, you’re guilty, and you’ve got to fix it with the government before you can work. That’s the change that E-Verify creates in our society. It gives power to police officers, to employers, to the government to decide whether it’s okay for you to do things like work.

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