Controversial E-Verify System Integral Part of Immigration Reform Proposal

Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, National Immigration Law Center and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, among many others, have expressed concerns about the flaws of E-Verify, as well as the system’s inability to protect people’s right to privacy.

David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said members from both the House and Senate groups who are taking on the task of drafting immigration reform have contacted CEI to gain insight on the flaws inherent within E-Verify.

“E-Verify is hopelessly flawed,” Bier said. “It will not stop illegal immigration, and it will cost Americans billions of dollars while limiting their privacy. If Congress does mandate E-Verify, it should do so with tight controls. It should exclude biometric data collection on citizens, and its rollout should be tied to a low error rate for citizens and no discriminatory impact for minorities.”

Bier also believes that E-Verify puts business owners in a precarious position. “Employers face the burdensome requirement to train and pay workers that fail E-Verify for at least four weeks until after their chance to appeal has passed.”

“Based on the cost of workplace turnover and a rejection rate of around 1 percent, this provision alone could cost $60 billion over the next decade,” he warns. “This means that E-Verify provides a strong incentive to discriminate against workers more likely to be unauthorized, like Hispanics.”

According to Bier, even if E-Verify was 100 percent accurate and cost nothing, Americans should object to its use on privacy grounds.

“E-Verify is an Internet-based national ID system; it could be used to instantly restrict or monitor access to anything based on any criteria the government chose,” Bier explains. “The potential for abuse is too great to ignore.”