Employment Verification and Compliance Programs

AuthorCharles M. Miller/Daniel Brown/Marcine Anne Seid
ProfessionFounding partner of the Miller Law Offices, Studio City, California/Partner in Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP's Washington, D.C./Principal attorney of the Seid Law Group, Palo Alto, California
The E-Verify program provides participating employers an Internet- based electronic
employment verication system for their newly hired employees. Operated by U.S. Citi-
zenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in partnership with the Social Security Admin-
istration (SSA), E-Verify represents the federal government’s program to eliminate fraud in
the hiring of unauthorized workers. The employer’s participation in the E-Verify program
is voluntary with certain exceptions. Employers who have been found to have knowingly
employed unauthorized aliens or engaged in unfair immigration- related employment prac-
tices may be required to participate in the program. Employers with federal contracts or
subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause are
required, as a condition of their contracts, to join E-Verify and use the program’s veri-
cation system for new hires and existing employees.1 Employers are also advised to check
state laws that require certain employers to participate in E-Verify.
The former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)2 and the SSA developed a
voluntary pilot program based on the Commission on Immigration Reform’s recommen-
dation that newly hired employees be electronically veried. In 1996, Congress passed
the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA).3 Section 401
of IIRIRA began limited testing, evaluation, and reporting on three voluntary pilot pro-
grams for employment eligibility conrmation during an initial four- year period. The three
IIRIRA pilots included the Basic Pilot, the Citizen Attestation Pilot, and the Machine
Readable Pilot. In 2003, only the Basic Pilot was renewed; the other two programs were
allowed to sunset.
1. See Chapter 8.
2. On March 1, 2003, certain functions formerly performed within the Department of Justice by
the INS were transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. See Homeland Security Act of
2002, Pub. L. No. 107-296, §§ 441(2), 451(b), 116 Stat. 2192, 2196 (to be codied at 6 U.S.C.
251(2), 271(b)) (Nov. 25, 2002).
3. Pub. L. No. 104-208, Div. C, 110 Stat. 3009-546.
Verification and
156 Immigration Compliance and Best Practices
In 1997, the Basic Pilot Program was offered, on a voluntary basis, to all employers
in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas, ve of the states with the highest
estimated population of aliens.4 In 2004, the Basic Pilot Program was expanded to all fty
Congress authorized the Basic Pilot Program, which the USCIS rebranded as E-Verify,
until November 30, 2008.6 On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed the appropria-
tions bill that extended the E-Verify program through September 30, 2018.7
On April 10, 2018, the USCIS introduced a new website, E-Verify.gov available to
employers, employees, and the general public. The website provides information about
E-Verify and Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verication, including employee rights and
employer responsibilities in the employment verication process. E-Verify.gov permits
employers to enroll in E-Verify directly and permits current users to access their accounts.
Individuals with myE-Verify accounts can also access their accounts through E-Verify.gov.
On April 23, 2018, USCIS sent E-Verify users an email entitled “E-Verify Modern-
ization Launch” which announced the availability of an enhanced system interface to
“improve users’ experience, reduce errors, and increase the speed and accuracy of the
employment eligibility verication process.” The USCIS email listed the following system
Enhanced usability features to help users enter correct information and makes
E-Verify more user friendly:
Expanded helper text and visuals to give more details about the data elds and
Provide real- time feedback on errors to allow users to quickly correct data entry
An auto- scroll feature that automatically advances to the next section on the
page that needs to be completed, which allows the user to edit case information
without changing pages
Streamlined case creation and management to increase results speed and accuracy:
Streamlined the E-Verify case creation and case closure process by removing
unnecessary steps in a case to help users to complete the case faster
Modernized the data matching process to reduce Tentative Nonconrmations
4. 62 Fed. Reg. 48309 (Sept. 15, 1997). It was later offered to employers in Nebraska. 64 Fed. Reg.
13606 (Mar. 1999).
5. 69 Fed. Reg. 243 (Dec. 20, 2004).
6. Section 2 of the Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-156
(Dec. 3, 2003). Section 3 of that statute directed DHS to expand the Basic Pilot Program to all fty
states and the District of Columbia by December 1, 2004.
7. Pub. L. No. 115-141.

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