Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On August 23, 2018, Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced legislation – S.3386, The E-Verify System Act of 2018 – that would require all employers to use E-Verify to ensure employees are authorized to work in the U.S. legally, according to a press release on Senator McCaskill’s website.
“Creating a system that allows employers to verify the work status of their employees is a commonsense step and something that we can and should come together to address,” McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, stated in the press release.
The E-Verify System Act of 2018 would allow employers to electronically verify the identity and work eligibility of new employees by comparing information on the Form I-9 that all newly hired workers in the U.S. must all complete to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records.
While the use of E-Verify is currently voluntary, S.3386 will make the use of the E-Verify system mandatory for all employers, strengthen the program by using a facial photo and other information specific to an individual, and include additional robust protections to address privacy and information security.
In October of 2017, McCaskill called out employers who knowingly hire workers in the country illegally for “cheating the system” and questioned DHS personnel on why the agency continued to ignore employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants for “creating an unfair competitive advantage.”
The introduction of S.3386 comes soon after an “undocumented immigrant” who passed a government background check that did not use E-Verify was accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts, 20, a University of Iowa student who disappeared while jogging in July 2018 and was found dead in a cornfield in August 2018.
The Des Moines Register reported that Yarabee Farms, the employer of the suspect Cristhian Rivera, said Rivera “was vetted through the government’s E-Verify system, and was an employee in good standing.” Farm officials later stated they did not use E-Verify and that Rivera had given them false information.
Yarrabee Farms was not registered in the E-Verify system, which is a requirement to run a check on an employee, according to The Des Moines Register, and investigators said that Rivera, who worked at several farms for four years, was in the United States without proper legal documentation.
In a related story, a suspected “Rideshare Rapist” arrested for allegedly raping four women in San Francisco, California while posing as a rideshare driver also fraudulently represented himself to pass a background check to work for ridesharing firm Lyft even though he was an undocumented immigrant.
“Individuals who drive for Lyft must be eligible to work in the United States,” a Lyft spokeswoman said in a statement about suspect Orlando Vilchez Lazo, who has been charged with kidnapping and raping four women between 2013 and 2018. “In this circumstance, this person fraudulently represented themself.”
Evading a background check is not easy, according to Brad Landin, president and chief compliance officer for Employment Screening Resources® (ESR). Landin is a background screening industry veteran who was interviewed for an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the “Rideshare Rapist” case.
“If someone is bound and determined, they could probably circumvent it by acquiring a Social Security number, adopting a name, somehow creating a history, employment, using friends as (pseudo) employment references – putting together a whole background,” Landin told The Chronicle.
However, Landin said that type of elaborate ruse is “fairly rare” and explained that while using another person’s Social Security number is common among undocumented immigrants and finding a fake driver’s license is relatively easy, a more thorough background check should uncover such deceptions.
Landin said a screening industry best practice is to use E-Verify to confirm the eligibility of employees to work in the United States. “It identifies any discrepancy and then requires the applicant to rectify that in person,” he explained. “It’s the most definite way to identify people who cannot legally work in the U.S.”
ESR Offers E-Verify Solutions for Employers
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers to verify work status and electronically capture and retain Form I-9 information. To learn more, please visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Form-I-9-E-Verify/.
NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
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