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 E-Verify ID checks gaining in popularity

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March Mellow

Join date : 2009-04-26
Posts : 209
Location : Char-Meck

PostSubject: E-Verify ID checks gaining in popularity   Wed May 13, 2009 12:06 pm

E-Verify ID checks gaining in popularity
More employers turning to the federal program they hope will help them avoid hiring illegal immigrants.
By Franco Ordoñez
Posted: Wednesday, May. 13, 2009

Mandi Bickes of ResourceMFG interviews a client. The company has enrolled in E-Verify. T. ORTEGA GAINES – OGAINES@CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.COM

More Information
This Land: Which companies are checking?

A worn red, white and blue sign taped to the front door of ResourceMFG warns potential hires that the recruiter uses a federal program to root out illegal immigrants.

Branch manager Tamara Mantooth put the sign up about two months ago when she noticed that nearly half the company's applicants presented questionable IDs.

“It was interesting,” she said. “After we put the sign up, some people would come up to the door, look at the sign and then turn away.”

Her company is one of a growing number in North Carolina and across the country enrolling in E-Verify, a once-obscure program run by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.

Critics say it's a flawed and expensive program that doesn't deter illegal immigration.

But as the Obama administration warns that it will focus on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, N.C. firms are choosing the free and voluntary program in record numbers.

In the past two years, the number of enrolled N.C. companies has increased by more than 700percent to 2,567. Local participants include Bank of America, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge.

Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, made more than 6,000 workplace arrests; 135 were employers and managers.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate hearing last week that ICE can do better. “Active enforcement of our immigration laws must address not just the illegal workers themselves,” she said, “but also the employers who hire illegal labor and fuel the phenomenon of illegal immigration into the United States.”

Worried about raids

Gilberto Bergman, president of Bergman Brothers Staffing of Charlotte, says companies can no longer claim they didn't know they hired workers using fake IDs. He said companies are using E-Verify to protect themselves in the event of raids or investigations.

Bergman cited an October raid of an N.C.-based House of Raeford Farms plant in Greenville, S.C. More than 300 workers were detained. The plant manager, the human resource manager and about a dozen supervisors were arrested on immigration charges.“When you actually hear that they're going to go ahead and prosecute, take to court the people who actually did the hiring, that's a big concern for HR people,” he said. “Employers are paying a lot more attention to who they are hiring, especially here in the Carolinas,”

A 2006 Observer investigation found illegal immigrants working for major N.C. road-building companies using Social Security numbers that were fake, stolen or belonging to dead people. Using payroll records from contractors, including Rea Contracting of Charlotte, the newspaper found questionable Social Security numbers for a third of 85 workers.

Rea is now using E-Verify, according to ICE.

Advocates, critics

E-Verify was first tested in 1997 so employers could compare employment forms to Social Security and immigration records. Participation nationally has been expanding at a rate of about 1,000 new employers a week, Napolitano said. More than 122,000 employers are enrolled, nearly five times more than in 2007.

Last year, President Bush signed an order requiring companies that do business with the federal government to use E-Verify.

South Carolina, Arizona and Mississippi require all employers to use E-Verify, according to the National Immigration Law Center. North Carolina passed a law in 2006 requiring that all state employees, including those at universities, be vetted by E-Verify.

Opponents claim the program does not effectively reduce illegal immigrants.

The Immigration Policy Center, a pro-immigrant research group, says E-Verify ensnares American job seekers in database errors, adds to employers' costs and “does not actually prevent undocumented immigrants from getting jobs.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that expanding the federal verification program could cost $17billion over the next 10 years. But Napolitano endorses E-Verify, saying ICE has fixed many of its shortcomings.

Mantooth said using the program is a business advantage. Companies don't want to risk paying for expensive training only to find out the worker is in the country illegally.

“I don't understand why anyone would not take advantage of this,” she said. “We don't want a reputation as a company that would place workers who were not eligible to work in the United States.”
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Join date : 2009-05-04
Posts : 151
Location : Pittsboro/Silk Hope
Age : 65

PostSubject: Re: E-Verify ID checks gaining in popularity   Wed May 13, 2009 12:39 pm

It's good to see that more companies are using this program. The argument that e-verify doesn't deter illegal immigration is not useful because the article says that the program will help with preventing the illegals from getting American jobs, and employers from hiring them knowing full well they are illegal. If they can't find work here, maybe they'll go back to wherever they came from. How is that not deterring them? I like the part where they display the sign that they have the e-verify program and people see the sign at the door and then walk away.

700 percent increase of use is outstanding!
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