Rep. Lamar Smith: Hoping to expand E-verify

02/11/2011 04:02:39 PM
Tom Karst

I will be posting testimony and statement from the House hearing on e-verify on Feb. 10. First, from the chair of Republican (pro E-verify) Lamar Smith:

Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement Hearing on the E-Verify - Preserving Jobs for American Workers

February 10, 2011

Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith
Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement
Hearing on the E-Verify - Preserving Jobs for American Workers

Chairman Smith: With unemployment over 9% now for 21 months, jobs are scarce and families are worried. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, seven million people are working in the U.S. illegally. These jobs should go to legal workers.

One effective program to help ensure jobs are reserved for citizens and legal workers is E-Verify. It’s an electronic employment eligibility verification system, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in conjunction with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Through E-Verify, the Social Security numbers and alien identification numbers of new hires are checked against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases in order to help employers determine who is eligible to work in the U.S.

I’ve used the program, frankly repeatedly, to ensure that my staff members are eligible to work in the U.S., as all Members of Congress are required to do. It’s free, quick and easy to use.

I am aware of criticisms of E-Verify – some legitimate and most not. But the fact remains that E-Verify is a very effective tool for employers who want to hire legal workers.

Perhaps the most valid criticism of E-Verify is the identity theft loophole. Specifically, if an employee provides an employer with a stolen Social Security Number and matching identification information, E-Verify will determine that the Social Security number is one that is work eligible.

USCIS has taken steps to help close the ID theft loophole. For instance, they have instituted the photo matching tool. This allows an employer to view a picture of the employee – from a greencard, an employment authorization document or a passport – to determine that the employee is in fact the person to whom that Social Security number or alien identification number was issued.

I am interested in hearing what USCIS has to say today about further improvements for the identity theft loophole and expansion of the photo match tool. Also it is critical that DHS and SSA work together to investigate any suspicious overuse of Social Security numbers through E-Verify.


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