E-Verify might have inaccurate information on 1.5 million workers?

| February 15 2013
Christopher Cook

Immigration. Everyone has different ways of approaching this important social issue, but everyone also knows that the status quo is unacceptable.

Among the many proposed solutions is to do greater workplace enforcement, to prevent people who are here illegally from being able to get a job, supplanting a citizen or someone who followed the legal immigration path. The E-Verify system is a part of that proposed solution.

If workplace enforcement is desired, then some sort of database does seem to make sense. But what if the system makes a mistake, as any bureaucratic infrastructure will from time to time? What impact might that have on citizens and legal immigrants?

Goodness knows I have my disagreements with aspects of the ACLU’s approach and selective understanding of civil liberties, but in this video, the ACLU’s Chris Calabrese points out one chilling problem with E-Verify: a 1% error rate that could impact more than a million workers.

“If E-Verify becomes mandatory, the result will be that you will essentially have to get cleared with a government right-to-work list before you can start a job. And that’s a huge change,” argues Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for privacy issues at the American Civil Liberties Union.

E-Verify, a government-operated database of everyone legally permitted to work in the United States, is currently used by hundreds of thousands of employers to check the status of their workers. Yet a national identification system has no precedent in the United States. Can E-Verify certify work status for immigrants and native-born workers alike without trampling on our civil liberties?

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