By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas have announced the expansion of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program’s capabilities to include U.S. passport photo matching which will enable E-Verify to automatically check the validity and authenticity of all U.S. passports and passport cards presented for employment verification checks, according to a DHS press release.

Businesses using E-Verify – a free, web-based system that enables employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees – will now able to verify the identity of new employees who present a U.S passport or passport card for the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 by comparing data with State Department records. Approximately 10 percent of all E-Verify queries currently provide a U.S. passport to establish both identity and employment authorization in order to prove employment eligibility.

“E-Verify is a smart, simple and effective tool that helps employers and businesses throughout the nation maintain a legal workforce,” DHS Secretary Napolitano stated in the press release. “Including U.S. passport photo matching in E-Verify will enhance our ability to detect counterfeit documents and combat fraud.”

E-Verify – operated by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration – is currently being used by more than 230,000 employers at more than 800,000 worksites.

Now more than ever, U.S. employers must regularly review their Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 compliance practices. Since January 2009, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the principal investigative arm of DHS – performed Form I-9 audits on more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions, according to DHS statistics.

These statistics show the Government has focused less on rounding up illegal workers and more on targeting the employers that hire illegal workers. To help maintain Form I-9 compliance and avoid I-9 audits, employers may choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent assist them in maintaining compliance using E-Verify. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce.

For more information about the E-Verify Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system, visit and read ESR News Blog posts tagged ‘E-verify’ at

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit