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Wonkblog: E-Verify Could Hurt Citizens, Work-Authorized Immigrants

June 05, 2013 (1 min read)

"Under the current rules, if E-Verify says you’re not authorized to work, you have eight days to visit the appropriate government agency and begin an appeal. If you’re not able to go in time, or you can’t convince the agency that a mistake was made, your employer is supposed to fire you.

E-Verify has been operating as a pilot project for more than a decade, giving policymakers a preview of how a national system might function. But figuring out how many workers have been wrongly rejected by the system is tricky. A study using 2009 data found that 0.3 percent of applicants suffered initial rejections that were subsequently corrected, allowing the employee to work. But another 2.3 percent of workers got rejections that were never reversed.

Undoubtedly, some of those were people who aren’t legally permitted to work. But others were likely eligible workers who lacked the documents, legal sophistication or time to demonstrate their eligibility. And some may have never been informed by their employers of their right to appeal. And while 0.3 percent and 2.3 percent may sound like small numbers, in a nation of 300 million people, that translates to hundreds of thousands of people." - Timothy B. Lee, June 3, 2013.