Employers Ignore E-Verify

Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, and South Carolina have mandated E-Verify for all new hires in their state (see Table 1), which means that every time an employee is hired the employer must use the E-Verify system to check the worker’s ability to legally work.  In our recent Cato Institute policy analysis, Jim Harper and I document that employers are not using E-Verify despite the mandates in those states.  Washington Examiner reporter Sean Higgins wrote an excellent piece expanding on our findings.

Table 1 

E-Verify Mandate Dates

   

Alabama

Arizona

Mississippi

South Carolina

4/1/2012

1/1/2008

7/1/2011

7/1/2010

New data has been released since we sent the policy analysis to the printer, confirming that businesses are continuing to ignore E-Verify in states where it is mandated.  Table 2 shows the percentage of all new hires in each state that are actually run through E-Verify, beginning with the data the mandates became law.  If the law was followed perfectly then those numbers should all be 100 percent but they have all levelled off way below that.  Slightly more than half of all new hires in states with mandatory E-Verify are actually run through the system in those four states.

Table 2

E-Verify Compliance Rates

Year

Alabama

Arizona

Mississippi

South Carolina

2009

 

43.26%

   

2010

 

58.77%

   

2011

 

56.75%

 

73.00%

2012

 

56.52%

44.91%

97.02%

2013

55.22%

58.48%

48.81%

54.92%

2014

56.47%

57.76%

43.70%

54.17%

Sources: U.S. Census, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics, DHS, Author’s Calculations.

If E-Verify is the enforcement tool immigration restrictionists want it to be, it’s going to have to start acting like it.