The House of Representatives has passed out of committee a bill (H.R. 1772) to mandate E-Verify electronic employment verification for all employers. This bill differs from the E-Verify proposal in the Senate immigration bill, so here’s the breakdown of what the bill lacks:
1) No limitation on how the system can be used: The House bill opens the door for E-Verify’s national ID system to be used almost anywhere to demonstrate identity. Once the system is in place and every American is part of it, it will be very easy for a federal or state agency to determine to use the system as a form of identification to get into buildings, to apply for a home loan, to rent an apartment, to purchase a gun, or to access health care. As the system expands, E-Verify will create not just a digital profile on everyone, but a digital history of their movements and their life.
2) No limit on errors for legal workers: Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) teamed up on the Senate Judiciary committee to propose an amendment to the Senate immigration bill to make penalties under E-Verify not mandatory for small employers unless DHS kept the error rate low for small employers. Senate Democrats replaced it with a version that halved the penalties for small employers in any year in which DHS failed to keep the error rate for legal workers at or below its currently-reported rate. The House bill, on the other hand, has no requirement or incentives for DHS to keep the error rate low.
3) No requirement to notify Americans when E-Verify is used to identify them or grant them access to their case history: Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill does not obligate the government to tell individuals when their name has been checked by E-Verify, nor does it grant them access to their E-Verify case history, also unlike the Senate bill. The Senate provisions were designed to protect Americans from unauthorized use of the system—their conspicuous absence should worry Americans who care about their privacy.
4) No administrative appeals process for U.S. workers: Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill contains no opportunity to appeal a wrongful final nonconfirmation (FNC)—despite the fact that according to the federal government, nearly 6 percent of FNCs go to legal workers. In other words, the bill virtually guarantees that 37,000 legal workers will lose their jobs under this system.
5) No administrative remedies: The House bill only allows remedies for individuals who are “dismissed from a job” as a result of an E-Verify error (p. 40). Since employers can extend job offers conditional on final confirmation, this means that in all likelihood, many, if not most, workers will receive no compensation for delays in being hired due to initial nonconfirmations or even from being rejected due to erroneous final nonconfirmations.