Monday, July 26, 2010

E-Verify - voluntary?

If you go to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security page for the U.S. government E-Verify program, you will read the following:

E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows an employer, using information reported on an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to determine the eligibility of that employee to work in the United States. For most employers, the use of E-Verify is voluntary and limited to determining the employment eligibility of new hires only. There is no charge to employers to use E-Verify. The E-Verify system is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration.

And, later on the same page:

E-Verify is a voluntary program for employers, with limited exceptions. Companies can access E-Verify online and compare an employee's Form I-9 information with over 455 million records in the Social Security Administration database, and more than 80 million records in Department of Homeland Security immigration databases. E-Verify is an essential tool for employers committed to maintaining a legal workforce, and the number of registered employers is growing by approximately 1,400 per week.

Why do employers sign up for E-Verify? To stay out of jail:

In fiscal year 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement made more than 1,100 criminal arrests associated with workplace investigations, according to its website. Of those arrests, more than 100 were business owners, managers or supervisors.

Another reason to use it - even though it's voluntary, it's not voluntary for some.

Temecula businesses will have to make sure their employees can legally work in the United States after the City Council unanimously passed an employment verification law Tuesday night.

Mayor Jeff Comerchero said the E-Verify ordinance is no different than the city enforcing speeding laws that are already on the books.

"We're obligated to enforce the law, and this is the law," he said.

Temecula's ordinance, modeled after a law in the city of Lancaster, will require holders of business licenses granted by the city to use E-Verify....

And there's a move to make E-Verify mandatory in another Inland Empire city:

Several residents have asked that the city [of Ontario] look into requiring businesses to use the government operated employment verification system, E-Verify....

Ontario resident, Susan Terry, who is unemployed, said she has a personal interest in seeing the system integrated in the city.

"It would open up a lot of jobs for myself," she said.

Councilman Alan Wapner asked city staff to study the matter, but I'm personally not certain that Ontario is likely to require E-Verify.

Incidentally, David Allen's Friday column in the Daily Bulletin included a good line regarding one E-Verify supporter.

From his seat in the audience, one of the activists continually waved a small Arizona flag. Outrageous. Does he want us to be Arizona? This is California, pal. You need to assimilate, pronto.

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