In her last debate with Jerry Brown, Meg Whitman again called for measures that in the end really just hurt people like guest worker programs and E-Verify systems that really don’t support comprehensive immigration reform. Watch:
What Chris Matthews failed to mention is that a guest worker program and E-Verify are two measures that have been largely criticized as demeaning and discriminatory. The National Immigration Law Center has documented examples of rampant cases of discrimination because of E-Verify:
Database errors incorrectly identify U.S. citizens as not authorized for employment.
• A U.S. citizen and former captain in the U.S. Navy with 34 years of service and a history of having maintained high security clearance was flagged by E-Verify as not eligible for employment. It took him and his wife, an attorney, two months to resolve the discrepancy.
• A U.S. citizen was hired for a job at a poultry company in Georgia but received a “tentative nonconfirmation” (TNC) notice. The employee wanted to contest the TNC, but the company did not grant her time off to do so. As a result, the employee had no time to contest the TNC and was fired.
• Juan Carlos Ochoa became a citizen in 2000. When he was offered a job at a car dealership in 2008, his employer used E-Verify to verify his employment eligibility. The employer received a TNCnotice due to an error in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) database; SSA did not have any record of Ochoa’s naturalization. Upon receiving the notice, Ochoa’s employer fired him, a violation of E-Verify rules. Because he is out of work, he is late on his rent and his electricity has been shut off. Though Ochoa has a U.S. passport, the local SSA office told him he must bring in his naturalization certificate to prove his U.S. citizenship. Ochoa, however, lost his naturalization certificate years ago and will now have to pay close to $400 and wait up to ten months for a replacement certificate.
• A naturalized U.S. citizen was hired by an Oregon telecommunications company but received a TNC because SSA records did not accurately reflect his citizenship status. He successfully contested the TNC at an SSA office, but the SSA representative did not correct his record. E-Verify then automatically issued a final nonconfirmation, at which point the employer is required to dismiss the nonconfirmed worker. The employer did not immediately terminate the worker, however, but ran another query in E-Verify and got another TNC. The employee went back to SSA, and this time a representative updated his record but still failed to post the change to E-Verify. Once again, the employee received a final nonconfirmation. Finally, he called the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), which called the SSA field office to explain proper E-Verify procedures so that the employee could keep his job.
Read more examples (not an exhaustive list, of course) of how E-Verify has screwed up people’s jobs here (PDF).
Furthemore, if employers are forced by law to utilize E-Verify in its current broken form, what will the full impact be on discriminatory practices at the job site? Imagine2050 highlights the troubling implications:
Here is the truth: E-verify encourages discrimination in hiring. The harder it is for employers to properly utilize the system (and it sounds nearly impossible), the more potential employees they will pass over. Don’t be surprised to one day hear reports of employers who admit to resorting to racial profiling because it was easier than E-verify.
Update: the ACLU has also featured how even the U.S. government admits that E-Verify has major problems. Read this blog post: E-Verify Has Problems, And the Government Agrees With Us.