Government fail: E-Verify system fails to identify illegal workers

Unbelievable. The federal system set up to help employers verify applicants for positions are legally able to work in the United States, incorrectly clears 54 percent of applicants. Identity theft is the problem. Give the system any valid information and your good to go.

From the Washington Times

The system Congress and the Obama administration want employers to use to help curb illegal immigration is failing to catch more than half of the unauthorized workers it checks, a research company has found.

The online tool E-Verify, now used voluntarily by employers, wrongly clears illegal workers about 54 percent of the time, according to Westat, a research company that evaluated the system for the Homeland Security Department. E-Verify missed so many illegal workers mainly because it can’t detect identity fraud, Westat said.

“Clearly, it means it’s not doing its No. 1 job well enough,” said Marc Rosenblum, a researcher at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.

It’s not doing its number one job at all man!

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano thinks the system is better than what has been reported even though Homeland Security hired Westat to complete the study. It’s also important to not Westat used data from 2008.

Even though the system seems to have serious issues, some in Congress propose to make the system mandatory. I’m fine with making a system mandatory if it works, but if the system does not work and companies are required to use the system, it shifts the burden of verifying applicants completely to the federal government.

I’m a bit torn on this. Should the burden be placed 100 percent on some sort of federal computer database – guaranteed to have false negatives too – or should some of the burden be placed on American business and to a certain extent common sense. Should we mandate passports for all American citizens?

Again, the big issue here is identity theft. There is simply too much information thieves have access to easily. If you “solve” that problem, most of the issues with E-Verify goes away. One thing is for certain – we must absolutely stop cities who are providing sanctuary to illegal aliens and providing them with government IDs and social services normally available to citizens only.

You would think the terrible stories about identity theft would put everyone on the same page concerning this subject, but those cities who refuse to follow the law are accomplices to identity theft fraud and should be prosecuted.

Update: Judicial Watch notes the following. Hey, if a SSN is used multiple times, it’s worth another look, but 91 percent of the time the system missed it.

[T]he report finds that a mere 9% of the Social Security numbers used multiple times—obviously by illegal immigrants—were identified by the system as undocumented aliens.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on February 27, 2010 at 9:10 am

    What ever happened to good old fashioned picture IDs and fingerprints?  Even as a natural born citizen, I had to provide a birth certificate and/or passport to work as a federally funded postdoctoral student (for peanuts, I might add!), while these people run roughshod over the system, proving it is more of a feel good than do good system.


    Fine the companies $10,000/day/illegal worker, and watch the free market system for verification work!  No federal funds for sanctuary cities.  No amnesty for illegals: go back to your home country and wait in line like honest immigrants, while we check you out and reinforce our borders.

  2. GdavidH on February 28, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Amen to all that except for one thing… You can't fine a company with illegal workers unless you know they are illegal, which is what is broken. The company my wife works for has people who I and my wife are sure are illegal but the company has legitimate papers that match the name the workers are using. The company is acting in good faith and can not PROVE the workers are illegal. It is interesting to note that these people call each other by different names and occasionally "update" their information to the company. The system is a joke and both political parties just pay lip service about it.

  3. Brittanicus on February 28, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Westat, a research company was hired  to evaluate the E-Verify software for the Homeland Security Department to identify illegal labor cheating the system.  The company stated that E-Verify  missed so many illegal workers mainly because it cannot detect identity fraud. But then anybody with one brain cell in their head E-Verify is only as good as the databases it uses? Of course it not perfected yet? But then if 9 out of 10 illegal illegal immigrants slip though the US Border patrol gauntlet, according to the Arizona Tuscon sector, as that's not 100 percent proof either? Work out those illegal alien numbers for yourself for those who are never snared? It's millions each year. That why the tired old number of 12 million living here unrestrained, makes no sense either? The E-Verify system, the state-county-city police apprehension federal training program, the Southern border fence, the No match IRS verification letters, even ICE raids have all been compromised. Read more here in the comments section.

    Edited by site owner … Sorry – the limit here is 75 words for comments.

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