E-Verify is a federal internet-based program that uses a variety of government databases to electronically confirm whether an employee is eligible to work legally in the United States. The program has been an integral part of comprehensive immigration reform proposals since 2006, and several attempts have been made in Congress to mandate all U.S. employers to use it, including recent bills introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Lamar Smith. Any new Congressional comprehensive immigration proposals are likely to include an expansion of E-Verify or the establishment of a similar electronic verification process.
While many have embraced E-Verify in the recent past, some opponents still flag its inaccuracy rates, costs, inability to detect some fraudulent documents, the lack of biometrics tying individuals to their own documents and possible discriminatory effects as serious issues with the system. Libertarians also argue that E-Verify turns employers into enforcement agents for the federal government, infringes on individuals’ civil liberties, and creates a de facto national ID system. Others warn of the cost and ineffectiveness of policies mandating E-Verify nationally without broader comprehensive immigration reform.