FAIR Calls for Mandatory E-Verify in Response to Work Eligibility Challenges Brought on by COVID-19

Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) submitted public comments in response to a request for input regarding whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should permanently allow employers to examine work authorization documents remotely, as they have done temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its public comments, FAIR notes that dramatic changes in the workplace brought on by the pandemic provide a long overdue opportunity to make E-Verify a mandatory part of the hiring process. With many people working remotely, the process of reviewing work eligibility documents has become far more challenging for businesses, large and small, and more susceptible to fraud. “By requiring employers to use E-Verify to confirm the work authorization of their new hires, small employers with limited resources will be able to quickly and easily confirm that the documents provided by a new hire have not been altered, belong to the individual presenting the documents, and otherwise match DHS records or other government data systems,” FAIR stated.

E-Verify has been found to be highly effective in screening out ineligible workers, thereby protecting the jobs and wages of legal U.S. residents; is easy to use for employers; and imposes little or no cost on companies that are enrolled. “Necessity is often cited as the mother of invention. In this case, no invention is necessary. The E-Verify system already exists and is the perfect tool for companies that may be hiring workers who are spread around the country. Thirty-five years after American workers were promised an effective system to prevent illegal workers from taking jobs and driving down wages, DHS has an opportunity to deliver on that promise, if the Biden administration actually wants to end the magnet that drives mass illegal immigration,” commented Dan Stein, president of FAIR.

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FAIR’s comments also urge DHS to couple mandatory E-Verify with stepped up audits and worksite enforcement. Combined, these steps would provide “two of the most effective tools DHS has to address both domestic labor conditions and the root causes of illegal immigration to the United States,” FAIR argued. FAIR also noted that by DHS’s own reckoning, the same employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens also tend to engage in other, even more deplorable labor practices.

“Rather than extending temporary provisions that were adopted at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for inspection of employment eligibility documents by company personnel departments, current circumstances provide an opportunity to replace the flawed and antiquated I-9 verification process with universal E-Verify,” Stein concluded.

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