The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released the results of the most recent Westat Survey titled ‘EVALUATION OF THE ACCURACY OF E-VERIFY FINDINGS’ conducted on the accuracy of the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system. The full 145-page report – completed in July 2012 but only now being released to the public a year later – is available online at: http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Verification/E-Verify/E-Verify_Native_Documents/Everify%20Studies/Evaluation%20of%20the%20Accuracy%20of%20EVerify%20Findings.pdf.
According to the ‘SUMMARY OF THE EVALUATION OF THE ACCURACY OF E-VERIFY FINDINGS,’ the report uses data from the 8.2 million E-Verify cases employers submitted in FY 2009 and “provides further validation that E-Verify is an accurate and robust tool.” The following key findings of the report are outlined in the 5-page summary document available at: http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Verification/E-Verify/E-Verify_Native_Documents/Everify%20Studies/E-Verify%20Accuracy%20Report%20Summary.pdf:
- As measured by the E-Verify erroneous Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) rate (percentage of workers found to be employment authorized who initially received a TNC), E-Verify accuracy has been increasing over time. This report found the TNC error rate declined from 0.7 percent (calculated for the period April through June 2005 in the Westat report from 2009) to 0.3 percent (calculated for the period April through June 2010 in the current Westat report).
- The Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) accuracy rate in 2009 was approximately 94 percent. Approximately 94 percent of FNCs were accurately issued to unauthorized workers. Of the approximately 191,000 workers receiving FNCs, an estimated 176,000 were accurately identified by E-Verify as not work-authorized.
- The USCIS secondary review performed prior to issuance of a TNC is effective. In cases referred by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the secondary review performed by USCIS resulted in a 90 percent FNC accuracy rate versus a 58 percent FNC accuracy rate where USCIS did not conduct a secondary review prior to the issuance of a TNC.
- USCIS is correctly identifying substantial numbers of unauthorized workers who would not have been identified prior to FY 2006, when USCIS first became responsible for verifying all noncitizen cases. In FY 2009, E-Verify identified an estimated 18,000 cases belonging to unauthorized workers who would not have been identified before FY 2006.
- Significant lags in entering information into some key DHS databases have adverse effects on the quality of E-Verify verifications. USCIS and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have made concerted efforts to increase the accuracy and timeliness of updating information about new immigrants, nonimmigrants, and changes in immigration and citizenship status. However, data lags of several weeks still persist in some cases, which results in the issuance of TNCs for some employment-authorized workers.
- Some inaccurate FNCs are issued because some employers fail to notify workers about their TNC or do not clearly explain the TNC process. If employers informed all workers of their TNCs and how to contest them in ways workers understood, the report estimates that the FNC accuracy rate in FY 2009 would have been almost 99 percent instead of 94 percent.
- The top four problems leading to TNCs explain approximately 80 percent of the estimated FNCs issued to employment-authorized workers: 1. Inability to confirm citizenship status of a worker attesting to being a U.S. citizen on the Form I-9 (35 percent); 2. SSA name mismatch (33 percent); 3. Inability to locate workers’ Form I-94 number (7 percent), and; 4. USCIS name mismatch (5 percent).
- Federal forms which are the source of data used in E-Verify sometimes result in data mismatches and erroneous TNCs. Some federal forms for immigration and citizenship benefits lack sufficient space to clearly write compound or long names. Furthermore, some forms and instructions lack sufficient guidance to cover commonly encountered situations such as how to enter complex names.
- SSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) systems do not share a common identifier, such as a Social Security number (SSN). Thus information about foreign-born U.S. citizens contained in USCIS naturalization databases may not be locatable when SSA information is inadequate to confirm that the worker has permanent employment authorization. Since many naturalization records, especially older records, do not contain SSNs, and since previously used A-numbers are not collected on the Form I-9 for citizens, naturalized citizens are especially prone to erroneous TNCs.
The USCIS – the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States – retained the services of Westat, a social science research firm, to evaluate the E-Verify Program and Westat has over 15 years of experience in the evaluation process. Westat’s recommendations on how USCIS could further improve the E-Verify Program’s already-strong accuracy rate are summarized in the report and USCIS has noted the steps it has taken, or will be taking, to address these recommendations.
A Designated E-Verify Employer Agent such as Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) may help businesses comply with Form I-9/E-Verify regulations at http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php. Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – is a nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). For more information, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.
About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):
Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.
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The Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected]. To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/feed/. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/.