Tag: E-Verify

Is Rep. Luis Gutierrez Pro-National ID?

There are many interesting facets to this story in the Chicago Tribune—among them Rep. Luis Gutierrez’ signal that he might support having a U.S. national ID.

“We need to know who’s working in the United States, and we need to make it easy,” Gutierrez told the paper, referring to the push to create a national ID in immigration reform legislation Congress may consider this year.

The story also describes how a UPS worker nearly lost her job because the name she was using—her married name—doesn’t match up with Social Security Administration records. I discussed how electronic employment eligibility verification would plunge Americans into an identity-bureaucracy morass in my paper, “Franz Kafka’s Solution to Illegal Immigration.”

Expect much more Kafkaesque identity bureaucracy—and greater government control of your life—if a national ID is part of immigration reform. When you find out that your papers aren’t in order and that you’ve been denied access to work, housing, financial services, and health care, one of the Washington deal-makers you have to thank may be Luis Gutierrez.

Need a Mortgage? Your Papers, Please …

In case you need any evidence that the federal background check system would expand to cover many more things than employment, that process is already underway. H.R. 4586 would require someone seeking modification of a home mortgage loan held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to be verified under the E-verify program. (Same would go for modifying mortgages insured under the National Housing Act.)

SSA Fails to Verify With E-Verify

Stephen Dinan reports in the Washington Times that the Social Security Administration—an integral part of the E-Verify government background check system—regularly fails to use E-Verify properly.

Despite helping run the government’s electronic database designed to weed out illegal-immigrant workers, Social Security failed to run E-Verify checks on its own employees nearly 20 percent of the time.

That’s according to this report, which also found that SSA failed to verify employees during the correct time-frame a whopping 49% of the time.

E-Verify is not supposed to be used for pre-screening, but SSA ran a background check before hiring new employees 25% of the time. Fifty-one percent were screened timely. The remaining 24% were screened after the seven-day window during which new hires are supposed to be screened.

If the federal agency at the heart of this background check system can’t operate it well, this casts doubt on the idea of mandating every private employer across the country to use it.

I discussed some of the problems with programs like E-Verify in my paper, “Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification: Franz Kafka’s Solution to Illegal Immigration.”

“I E-Verify”: Do Businesses Agree With Your Values?

My March 2008 paper, Franz Kafka’s Solution to Illegal Immigration, detailed the problems with electronic employment verification systems. The paper concludes that successful “internal enforcement” of immigration law requires a national ID—and ultimately a cradle-to-grave biometric tracking system.

The Department of Homeland Security has started a program called the “I E-Verify” campaign for businesses that use the federal background check system on its employees. If you see businesses with “I E-Verify” decorations or insignia, they at least indirectly support a national ID system in the United States. This can help you decide whether or not you want to spend your dollars with them.

Studying Confirmation Bias Tends to Convince People of the Existence of Confirmation Bias

If you were a federal contractor with millions of dollars in federal business, would you ever say that federal regulations are too burdensome? Would you tell a newspaper that you violated federal rules by turning away workers because a federal database reported a discrepancy between the information you submitted and the information the government holds?

I don’t think so.

But on National Review’s “The Corner” blog, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies takes a federal contractor’s self-serving statements about E-Verify as evidence that it’s “working fine.”

Of course it is! If you carefully consider the evidence you want to!

Parties in Power Like National ID Systems

In a recent post, I noted how Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano was “taking the national ID tar baby in a loving embrace.” Now the administration seems to be similarly embracing the E-Verify government background check system.

Starting September 8th, it will go forward with a Bush administration plan to require federal contractors to check their employees against federal databases. The E-Verify program is riddled with problems, and it will send many American workers and legal immigrants into Kafkaesque ordeals when they find they aren’t approved by the federal government to earn a living. Ultimately, “internal enforcement” of immigration law, which is what E-Verify is about, requires a biometric national identity system.

Wasn’t a Democratic administration going to be the antidote to the aggressive security-statism of the Bush administration? Well, no. Once in power, either political party will see merit in national ID systems. After all, a national ID gives the government direct regulatory control over individuals - and that’s a sweet sound to the powerful, regardless of political affiliation. This is why it was so interesting to see the left begin to embrace a national ID as it anticipated an Obama victory in November.

Parties in power like national ID systems.

E-Verify: The Surveillance Solution

The federal government will keep data about every person submitted to the “E-Verify” background check system for 10 years.

At least that’s my read of the slightly unclear notice describing the “United States Citizenship Immigration Services 009 Compliance Tracking and Monitoring System” in today’s Federal Register. (A second notice exempts this data from many protections of the Privacy Act.)

To make sure that people aren’t abusing E-Verify, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Verification Division, Monitoring and Compliance Branch will watch how the system is used. It will look for misuse, such as when a single Social Security Number is submitted to the system many times, which suggests that it is being used fraudulently.

How do you look for this kind of misuse (and others, more clever)? You collect all the data that goes into the system and mine it for patterns consistent with misuse.

The notice purports to limit the range of people whose data will be held in the system, listing “Individuals who are the subject of E-Verify or SAVE verifications and whose employer is subject to compliance activities.” But if the Monitoring Compliance Branch is going to find what it’s looking for, it’s going to look at data about all individuals submitted to E-Verify. “Employer subject to compliance activities” is not a limitation because all employers will be subject to “compliance activities” simply for using the system.

In my paper on electronic employment eligibility verification systems like E-Verify, I wrote how such systems “would add to the data stores throughout the federal government that continually amass information about the lives, livelihoods, activities, and interests of everyone—especially law-abiding citizens.”

It’s in the DNA of E-Verify to facilitate surveillance of every American worker. Today’s Federal Register notice is confirmation of that.