Congress and the federal agencies are charged with creating, enforcing and regulating America's immigration laws, which includes employment eligibility verification.
Congress first authorized electronic employment verification systems in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996. Presently, only one system is in use, the "Basic Pilot." The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency regulates this program, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency enforces employment verification across the nation.
To remedy the problems in the current electronic employment verification system, the HR Initiative is urging the 111th Congress to:
- Create a reasonable timeline for implementing a new system that allows the system to be tested and that does not burden law abiding employers with greater liabilities and uncertainties;
- Incorporate a biometric technology without the use of a card and in a manner that alleviates privacy concerns;
- Move toward a truly electronic system that is “paperless” and provides employees and employers with certainty while not subjecting them to liabilities from inadvertent clerical errors;
- Allow sufficient flexibility for employees and employers to confirm status and correct mistakes during the recruitment process;
- Hold each employer or employee liable for his or her own actions while protecting them from the misdeeds of others committed outside of the employer’s or employee’s control or knowledge; and
- Preempt piece-meal state and local legislation on eligibility verification which add confusion and undue burden to employers.
In this section, you will be able to read more about these and other issues in Congress and the agencies. You will also read about advocacy efforts undertaken by the HR Initiative to urge for necessary reforms.