Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed that the E-Verify program, which allows employers to automatically check the immigration status of newly hired employees through government databases, is 99 percent effective, and argued that the government should make it mandatory because "it works." In fact, federal government studies show that the program has errors and can lead to discrimination.
Dobbs Ignores E-Verify's Multiple Problems In Pressing For Its Requirement
Dobbs: Obama Refuses To Make E-Verify Mandatory Because "It Works." Hosting Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) to talk immigration on his Fox Business show, Dobbs claimed that the E-Verify program is 99 percent effective. He then added: "[T]hat's precisely why your friends and colleagues in Congress and over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- the president himself, and the previous president, in all fairness -- refused to make E-Verify mandatory for the very simple reason it works." From the segment:
DOBBS: I think that most Democrats would agree with most Republicans that you -- if you're going to control illegal immigration -- that is, end it -- you have to stop the illegal employer from employing illegally illegal immigrants. It's pretty straightforward, isn't it?
SMITH: Exactly. We have a wonderful program called E-Verify, and employers can check their employees. In fact, over 200,000 have signed up for this program. There are 1,300 more signing up every week, and we need to encourage employers, businesses to use this E-Verify program, and keep those jobs for American workers and legal immigrants as well.
DOBBS: Mr. Chairman, there are going to be a lot of people listening to you and saying, "What do you mean, we need to encourage? Isn't it the law?" And of course --
SMITH: It is not.
DOBBS: -- it's not the law.
SMITH: It is not mandatory, this E-Verify program. I think we need to expand it. We need to make it mandatory for a large number of individuals. But it works. It's 99 percent effective.
DOBBS: Ninety-nine percent effective, and that's precisely why your friends and colleagues in Congress and over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- the president himself, and the previous president, in all fairness -- refused to make E-Verify mandatory for the very simple reason it works.
SMITH: It does work and it protects those jobs for American workers and legal immigrants. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 5/11/11]
E-Verify Does Not Adequately Screen Unauthorized Workers
DHS Study Found That E-Verify Wrongly Cleared 54 Percent Of Unauthorized Workers. In a January 2010 report commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, research firm Westat analyzed data from September 2007 to June 2008 and found that "primarily due to identity fraud, approximately half (54 percent with a plausible range of 37 to 64 percent) of unauthorized workers run through E-Verify receive an inaccurate finding of being work authorized." From the study:
Westat estimates that overall, E-Verify queries result in an accurate response 96 percent of the time and an inaccurate response 4.1 percent of the time. But only 6.2 percent of all E-Verify queries relate to unauthorized workers. Westat estimates that, primarily due to identity fraud, approximately half (54 percent with a plausible range of 37 to 64 percent) of unauthorized workers run through E-Verify receive an inaccurate finding of being work authorized. As a result, the 54 percent statistic relates only to the 6.2 percent figure ... means that of all E-Verify queries, only approximately 3.3 percent are for unauthorized workers that were incorrectly found work authorized. [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 1/28/10, emphasis added]
E-Verify Has Limited System In Place To Correct Errors, Leaving Workers With Significant Costs For Corrections
DHS Study: "20 To 40 Percent" Of Workers Who Are Flagged As Ineligible "Are Not Informed" Of The Error. According to Westat, "Sixty to 80 percent of authorized workers are informed by their employer of a TNC. (In other words, 20 to 40 percent are not informed of the TNC and receive FNCs.)" Westat further reported:
However, there is good reason to believe that employers underreport noncompliance with E-Verify notification procedures. Among the 82 employers with two or more workers receiving TNCs, 37 had one or more employees who reported that they did not receive an explanation. This may be an overestimate of noncompliance because workers may not recall having the notice explained.
Among the 108 onsite study employers for which the evaluation team reviewed employment verification files of workers receiving TNCs, over half were missing copies of TNC notices for a majority of the workers for whom cases had been submitted to E-Verify. In some of these cases, it is likely that the employer provided the worker with the notice but did not correctly file it, as specified in E-Verify procedures.
Eighty-eight to 95 percent of work-authorized employees who were told about their TNCs chose to contest them and 5 to 12 percent did not contest them (e.g., employment-authorized workers might not contest because they have decided to leave the job for reasons either related or unrelated to the TNC finding) and became FNCs [final nonconfirmations]. [Department of Homeland Security, 12/16/09]
GAO: "Employees Have Limited Ability to Identify, Access, And Correct Information That Causes Erroneous TNCs." In a December 2010 report analyzing government data of E-Verify, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that workers who were notified of an initial ineligibility problem face "formidable challenges" in correcting errors because they "have limited ability to identify, access, and correct information that causes" them. From the report:
Employees are limited in their ability to identify, access, and correct personal information maintained by DHS that may have led to an erroneous TNC. If an employee chooses to contest a TNC, the employer is required to provide the employee a referral letter that identifies which agency an employee needs to visit or call to resolve the TNC and close the case.
The process for resolving DHS-related TNCs can be difficult because the E-Verify program does not have a process in place for employees to identify and access personal information that was the source of the erroneous TNCs. Currently, employees are not informed of which specific records are the sources of an erroneous TNC. [Government Accountability Office, 12/17/10]
GAO: An Employee Would Have To File Privacy Act Requests, Which On Average Take Roughly Three Months, To Clear Discrepancies. According to the GAO report:
To identify and access these records, employees must use a Privacy Act request. Privacy Act requests allow individuals to gain access to their personal records (unless the requested records are exempted from disclosure) and to seek correction or amendment of federally maintained records that are inaccurate, incomplete, untimely, or irrelevant.
An employee wishing to determine which specific records led to the erroneous TNC may need to make separate Privacy Act requests to several DHS components that may have been the source of information involved in making the determination, because each DHS component maintains its own data and has an independent office in charge of responding to Privacy Act requests.
According to senior officials in DHS's Privacy Office, if there is an error in a DHS database, individuals face formidable challenges in getting the inaccuracy or inconsistency corrected because, among other things, they have little information about what database led to the decision. DHS processes Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act requests in the same manner, and the average response time for these requests in fiscal year 2009 was approximately 104 days. [Government Accountability Office, 12/17/10]
DHS: Workers Face Potentially Significant Financial Costs To Resolve E-Verify Issues. In its study for DHS, Westat interviewed workers who successfully resolved errors and found that 22 percent spent more than $50 to correct information, while 13 percent spent more than $100. Westat cautioned, however, that "the worker responses to this question may underestimate the actual costs because in many cases of noncompliance, the worker is unaware of the employer's practice; for example, workers may be unaware of not being hired or having a delayed start date because of a TNC." From the report:
Of the 115 workers who reported information about costs, 47 reported that there were no costs to contesting the TNC, 28 workers spent $50 or less, and 25 workers spent more than $50 (Exhibit X-3). Another 15 workers were not specific about the total amount of costs to resolve the TNC. The costs for workers reporting at least some costs ranged from $1 (for a worker who had to pay for parking outside of an SSA office) to $6,700 (for a worker who lost almost seven months of work and had to pay legal fees to get his paperwork corrected).
It should also be noted that the worker responses to this question may underestimate the actual costs because in many cases of noncompliance, the worker is unaware of the employer's practice; for example, workers may be unaware of not being hired or having a delayed start date because of a TNC. Workers may also be unable to estimate the financial costs of such practices. On the other hand, some workers may be reporting expenses for getting an extension of their employment authorization documents as part of E-Verify expenses.
This finding suggests there are negative consequences for at least some workers receiving TNCs, thus potentially contributing to a discriminatory impact since foreign-born workers are considerably more likely to receive TNCs than are U.S.-born workers. [Department of Homeland Security, 12/16/09]
DHS Study: Workers Also Suffer Other Adverse Effects From Correcting Errors. According to Westat, half of the workers they interviewed who successfully resolved issues had to take time off to do so, including 14 percent who lost two or more days of work. Additionally, Westat found that "some workers reported nonfinancial burdens," including "training delays and being given less desirable assignments." [Department of Homeland Security, 12/16/09]
E-Verify Can "Create The Appearance Of Discrimination"
GAO: System Would Specifically Target "Those Of Hispanic Or Arab Origin" For Errors. In its December 2010 report, GAO found that errors in the system could potentially impact up to 164,000 eligible workers each year "because of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in how personal information is recorded on employee documents, in government databases, or both." The report found that the system would specifically target "those of Hispanic or Arab origin," who "may have multiple surnames that are recorded differently on their naturalization documents than on their Social Security cards." GAO further stated that this system would serve to "create the appearance of discrimination." From the report:
Erroneous TNCs [tentative nonconfirmations] occur, in part, because of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in how personal information is recorded on employee documents, in government databases, or both. For example, personal information in employee documents may differ from that in government databases if, for example, employees naturalize or marry or divorce and change their names without informing SSA or DHS of the name change. Additionally, employees' personal information may be inaccurate if the first or last name is incorrectly spelled in government databases or on identification documents.
Further, individuals from certain cultural groups, such as those of Hispanic or Arab origin, may have multiple surnames that are recorded differently on their naturalization documents than on their Social Security cards. Such names could be recorded in a different order on the two documents, or one document may contain all the surnames while the other document may contain an abbreviated version of the surnames. Erroneous TNCs resulting from such inconsistencies can create the appearance of discrimination because of their disparate impact on certain cultural groups.
According to USCIS, of 22,512 TNCs resulting from name mismatches in fiscal year 2009, approximately 76 percent, or 17,098, were for citizens, and approximately 24 percent, or 5,414, were for noncitizens. Using USCIS's and SSA's estimates that about 60 million queries would be generated annually under E-Verify if the program were made mandatory for new hires nationwide, about 164,000 citizens and noncitizens would receive a name-related TNC each year. However, this number would greatly increase if E-Verify were made mandatory for all employees nationwide and not just new hires. [Government Accountability Office, 12/17/10]
GAO: Because Of Limited Mechanisms To Correct Errors, "Increased Potential Exists For An Adverse Impact On Individuals' Civil Rights And Civil Liberties." According to the GAO report, because there are limited mechanisms in place to correct these name-related errors, "increased potential exists for an adverse impact on individuals' civil rights and civil liberties." From the report:
In our site visits, 5 of 25 employers commented that TNCs are more likely to occur in situations where Hispanic employees have hyphenated or multiple surnames. In these situations, employers are sometimes uncertain which name to enter into the E-Verify fields calling for an employee's first name, last name, and maiden name. USCIS has included information on its Web site to help employers enter hyphenated names to reduce the incidence of erroneous TNCs.
Senior E-Verify program officials stated that providing information to employees about how name-related TNCs occur and how to prevent them may help decrease the incidence of these types of erroneous TNCs. They stated that they may consider addressing this issue as they move forward with the E-Verify program, but did not specify how they would do this. USCIS has some mechanisms in place to help employees with the work authorization process, such as guidance on the E-Verify Web site, but the agency does not provide information on how to prevent a name-related TNC.
Westat's 2009 report stated that the erroneous TNC rate for employees who were eventually found to be eligible to work was approximately 20 times higher for foreign-born employees than for U.S.-born employees (2.6 percent versus 0.1 percent) from April through June 2008. Based on statistical information provided us by USCIS for fiscal year 2009, the likelihood of noncitizens receiving erroneous TNCs was greater than that for citizens. As discussed earlier, employees may also face challenges in understanding TNC letters and how to contest erroneous TNCs. Given this, and USCIS's limited mechanisms for correcting errors in personal information that have caused erroneous TNCs or FNCs, increased potential exists for an adverse impact on individuals' civil rights and civil liberties. [Government Accountability Office, 12/17/10]
DHS Study Also Uncovered E-Verify-Related Discrimination. In its study for DHS, Westat "found that although the erroneous TNC rate has been reduced, naturalized U.S. citizens and foreign-born workers are still more likely to incorrectly receive TNCs than are U.S.-born workers." The report continued:
Work-authorized, foreign-born workers (which includes naturalized citizens) are more likely to require additional verification than are U.S.-born workers. In fact, naturalized U.S. citizens are the most likely group to receive an erroneous TNC -- 3.2 percent received an erroneous TNC in April to June 2008, compared to 0.1 percent of native-born U.S. citizens and 2.1 percent of noncitizens. The disparity in TNC rates between native and foreign-born U.S. citizens and between U.S.-born and foreign-born workers have both decreased over time, as indicated in the report. [Department of Homeland Security, 1/28/10]
American Council On International Personnel Chairman: "The Level Of Uncertainty [About E-Verify] May Foster Skepticism Toward ... Those Who Are Perceived To Look Or Sound 'Foreign.' " In prepared remarks before a congressional subcommittee, Austin Fragomen, chairman of the American Council on International Personnel (ACIP), testified that "[f]alse non-confirmations are not created by the E-Verify system itself, but by inaccuracies in the SSA and DHS databases." He continued:
[T]he system imposes burdens on legal U.S. workers who must ensure their documents are in order when applying for a job, giving them yet another reason to worry about identity theft. And one unexpected consequence of the Hurricane Katrina disaster was that employers were hesitant to hire those who had fled the area without their documents. In addition, U.S. workers assigned to federal contracts have had to take time off work to go to the Social Security Administration to obtain new cards, or to correct other errors that appear during the E-Verify reverification process.
Under the current system, the level of uncertainty may foster skepticism toward all employees, especially those who are perceived to look or sound "foreign." The less certainty there is for employers, the more likely unsophisticated employers will revert to personal biases in an abundant exercise of caution. An easy and certain "yes/no" in the verification process would mean that employers could no longer use subjectivity as an excuse for discriminatory hiring practices. [House Subcommittee On Social Security, 4/14/11]
E-Verify May Negatively Impact U.S. Economy
CBO: E-Verify Would Cost $3 Billion To Implement Over Four Years. In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the cost for that year's immigration reform legislation that included an E-verify program. The CBO found that "that the system would cost about $3.0 billion over the 2008-2012 period, including amounts needed by federal agencies to use the system to verify eligibility for federal employment." [Congressional Budget Office, 6/4/07]
CBO: E-Verify Would Reduce Federal Revenues By $17.3 Billion Over 10 Years. According to a letter from the Congressional Budget Office: "CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting the legislation would: Decrease federal revenues by $17.3 billion over the 2009-2018 period. The decrease largely reflects the judgment that mandatory verification of employment eligibility through the E-Verify system would result in an increase in the number of undocumented workers being paid outside the tax system." [Congressional Budget Office, 4/4/08]
Migration Policy Institute: "Number Of Erroneous Nonconfirmations And Other Costs To US Employers And Workers Also Would Increase Under A Mandatory System." According to a review of the E-Verify system by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), "the number of erroneous nonconfirmations and other costs to US employers and workers also would increase under a mandatory system." MPI further reported:
Assuming no change in error rates, using E-Verify for all new hires would result in the erroneous nonconfirmation of about 600,000 US workers per year, resulting in lost wages or other adverse consequences for 60,000 to 280,000 of them. Employers would face hiring delays about 1.6 million times per year, resulting in about 14 million work-days of lost productivity because of unauthorized immigrants who would be kept on employers' payrolls pending a final nonconfirmation. At current rates, employers also would be expected to spend about $150 million to set up E-Verify and $600 million to maintain the system. Identity theft associated with E-Verify also would increase, though employment verification currently accounts for a very small share of identity theft overall. [Migration Policy Institute, February 2011]
MPI: "Actual Costs Of A Mandatory System Would Be Much Higher Than Those Predicted By A Simple Extrapolation Of Current Costs." According to MPI, "actual costs of a mandatory system would be much higher than those predicted by a simple extrapolation of current costs because the users under a mostly voluntary system are disproportionately large firms with sophisticated HR departments and/or federal contractors -- a profile that differs in important ways from average US employers." MPI continued:
While 89 percent of US businesses have fewer than 20 employees and 98 percent have fewer than 100, only 32 percent of E-Verify users have fewer than 20 employees and 68 percent have fewer than 100. And a study of businesses not using E-Verify found that about one-quarter of them lacked staff with sufficient skills to begin using E-Verify, and that about one in ten small businesses did not have adequate computer or Internet connections to use the program. Thus, employers who use E-Verify because they are required to do so by state or local law or by a client are significantly less satisfied with the program than employers who use it voluntarily; and employers in Arizona (including those who enrolled in the system in response to state law) are less likely than employers in other states to comply with E-Verify's required worker protections. For these reasons, per capita costs likely would increase considerably under a mandatory E-Verify system, though rising costs may be partially offset by continued improvement in system accuracy and better oversight. [Migration Policy Institute, February 2011]
Bloomberg Government: "E-Verify May Cost Small Business $2.6 Billion." According to a Bloomberg Government piece, " 'Free' E-Verify May Cost Small Business $2.6 Billion":
A proposal to require every U.S. employer to use free federal databases to confirm the legal status of a new hire would cost employers billions of dollars in associated expenses, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Businesses with fewer than 500 workers would bear the greatest burden, according to the data, spending about $2.6 billion a year to use the government's web-based verification system, E-Verify, compared with less than $100 million for the 4 percent that used it in 2010.
Though E-Verify does not charge for the use of its database, employers' costs included training and certifying staff or hiring vendors to conduct the searches.
If mandated for all employers, EVerify would have cost $2.7 billion in fiscal 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Small businesses, which account for 99.7 percent of employers, would have paid $2.6 billion of that, according to the data.
Employers spent about $43 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008, to interact with the site, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on a survey commissioned by the government. The survey results were released in December 2009, and Bloomberg has adjusted the figures for inflation and increased usage.
If E-Verify costs remained constant, and usage of the system is adjusted for growth, the employers spent an estimated $95 million in fiscal 2010 on E-Verify. [Bloomberg Government, 1/27/11, via ICS Consulting]
Bloomberg Government: Though DHS Touts E-Verify As "Free," "That Doesn't Mean The Use Of E-Verify Is Without Cost." From the January 27 Bloomberg Government piece:
The Department of Homeland Security's web-based E-Verify is, as the agency says on its website, "easy to use, fast, and best of all -- free." To the extent E-Verify keeps employers from hiring illegal workers, it saves them the cost of fines.
That doesn't mean the use of E-Verify is without cost. It cost the government $247 million to run E-Verify, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. The government has published an 82-page user manual and offers training seminars to become acquainted with E-Verify. Employers have to spend money on training or staff time.
Small businesses estimated they spent a total of $36 million on E-Verify in fiscal 2008, according to the survey. That equates to $81 million in fiscal 2010, adjusting for inflation and usage that more than doubled in those two years.
Businesses with fewer than 500 workers bear the greatest burden because the fixed costs are spread over fewer hires. It cost small businesses that had just enrolled in E-Verify in 2008 an average of $127 to run a new hire query, compared with $63 for all firms. In 2010, those figures would be $147 and $73, respectively, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Large firms are able to spread the set-up and maintenance costs across a larger number of queries, tapping into the program's economies of scale. [Bloomberg Government, 1/27/11, via ICS Consulting]
National Immigration Law Center: "Requiring Employers To Use E-Verify Will Not Create New Jobs For American Workers." According to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), "[r]equiring employers to use E-Verify will not create new jobs for American workers." From the NILC:
- Some policymakers have simplistically and falsely asserted that requiring employers to use E-Verify will decrease unemployment because "there are almost as many illegal immigrants in the labor force as there are unemployed workers."
- But that's not what the research shows. Unemployment rates among native-born workers are actually lower in areas with higher levels of immigration, because spending by immigrants stimulates the economy and creates additional jobs. In fact, there is no statistically significant relationship between unemployment and recent immigration.
- Moreover, requiring employers to use E-Verify will not free up jobs. In fact, its effect will be to drive more workers and employers into the underground economy, costing the federal government, states, and localities valuable tax revenue. [National Immigration Law Center, 1/26/11]
E-Verify May Fuel The Rise Of Fraud, Identity Theft, And Underground Economy
Former Immigration Services Chief Counsel: "E-Verify Was Never Intended To Address Identity Fraud." Lynden Melmed, who served as chief counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), wrote in a February report titled, "Immigration Update: The Future of Employment Verification":
E-Verify was never intended to address identity fraud, and its capabilities are limited when unauthorized workers present legitimate documentation of employment-authorized individuals. In those situations, neither the employer nor the databases are able to determine if employees are presenting genuine identity and employment eligibility documents that are borrowed or stolen. In one well-known immigration worksite raid, DHS identified over a thousand unauthorized workers in that workforce, even though the employer actively participated in the E-Verify system.
[E]ven proponents of E-Verify recognize that the system was never intended or designed to address identity theft. Because E-Verify is based on the paper I-9 process, it will confirm all employees as employment authorized as long as the information entered into E-Verify matches DHS and SSA records. [ImmigrationWorks USA, February 2011]
ACIP Chairman: E-Verify Is A "Paper-Based" System So "It Is Unable To Detect Many Forms Of Document Fraud And Identity Theft." In his prepared remarks before the House Subcommittee On Social Security, American Council on International Personnel (ACIP) chairman Austin Fragomen stated that "because E-Verify remains, in effect, a 'paper-based' system because of its reliance on a subjective review of documents, it is unable to detect many forms of document fraud and identity theft. This is because E-Verify does not authenticate the identity of the person presenting the documents. It only verifies that the data on the documents matches the information in the federal databases." [House Subcommittee On Social Security, 4/14/11]
Reuters: "Immigration Enforcement Spurring Demand For Stolen IDs." Reuters reported on May 12 that stricter immigration enforcement is "spurring demand for stolen IDs." According to the article:
Employers, increasingly double-checking would-be workers because of a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration, may inadvertently be fanning demand for stolen documents -- with all the consequences that befall victims of identity theft, from tax and credit problems to trouble with the law.
"People who are here without status and are desperate to work have resorted to co-opting documents that are legitimate," said Michael Wildes, an immigration attorney and a former federal prosecutor.
[Miguel] Chavez, 46, is all too familiar with the havoc identity theft creates. Three years after the discovery, he is still trying to clear his name. His credit is in a shambles and he worries that the people using his information could get in serious legal trouble, putting him at risk of arrest.
"At first I was upset, then I was worried, then I was frustrated and overwhelmed," said Chavez, a Mexico-born, legal U.S. resident.
While E-Verify will flag names and Social Security numbers that do not match, it is not very effective at ferreting out workers who assume the identity of a legal worker.
Brock Nicholson, the ICE special agent in charge of Georgia and the Carolinas, said an increase in identity theft "will probably be a logical outcome" of increased verification.
"People learn what we look for and they do things to try to avert that," Nicholson said.
An attorney for Ashley Furniture Industries, employer of a Miguel Chavez, told Reuters the company uses E-Verify and that it is not solving the problem of illegal immigration.
"This is the tip of the iceberg. Can you imagine the mess you're going to have when people start drawing Social Security?" Ashley attorney Bruce Kostner said. "It's appalling to me that nothing is being done to address this." [Reuters, 5/12/11]
MPI: "E-Verify Mandate Would Be To Push Unauthorized Employment Deeper Into The Underground Economy And Increase The Incentives For Fraud." In its February 2011 report, MPI stated:
To a large degree, the limited effectiveness and adverse effects of E-Verify reflect a misunderstanding of what should be expected of the program or of any employment eligibility verification system. E-Verify cannot force employers to hire legal workers; it can only give them a better tool to distinguish between legal and unauthorized workers. Bad-faith employers and employers who believe their businesses depend on unauthorized workers to survive -- i.e. employers who currently hire unauthorized workers despite knowing or suspecting they may be unauthorized -- likely will continue to do so even if they are required to use E-Verify.
Twenty-five years after IRCA's passage and after a generation of steadily increasing investments in immigration enforcement, the assumption that US labor markets and immigration patterns can be reshaped through enforcement efforts alone seems dubious at best, when one considers the unauthorized population has grown to more than 11 million and return flows have been limited even in the face of the recent economic downturn. As long as the demand for unauthorized employment remains greater than the expected penalty for noncompliance, then the most likely effect of a new E-Verify mandate would be to push unauthorized employment deeper into the underground economy and increase the incentives for fraud. To make E-Verify mandatory without addressing these concerns sets the system up for a larger failure, undermining its credibility among a broader set of workers and employers. [Migration Policy Institute, February 2011]
ACLU: "E-Verify Would Create One Of The Largest And Most Widely Accessible Databases," Thereby Increasing Security Risks. According to the American Civil Liberties Union:
E-verify would create one of the largest and most widely accessible databases ever created in the U.S. Since the first data breach notification law went into effect in California at the beginning of 2004, more than 510 million records have been hacked, lost or disclosed improperly. Data breaches continue to be a contributing factor to identity theft and a constant erosion of Americans' privacy and sense of security.
Ana I. Anton, Ph.D., a Professor of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, testified that there is no such thing as a completely secure system and warned that tacking more and more databases on to E-Verify to try to guarantee proper identification of individuals would only increase security risks. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) agreed, and said that he did not want to see us piling more systems on top of E-Verify if E-Verify is turning out to be a failed system. [American Civil Liberties Union, 4/22/11]
Technology Expert: "The E-Verify Self Check Implementation Is Troubling" Because "Knowledge Of A SSN ... Is Not Sufficient To Reliably Authenticate Any Party." In her testimony before the House Subcommittee on Social Security, technology expert Ana I. Anton stated:
Government systems that rely on the SSN as an identifier and authenticator are risky. Knowledge of a SSN (or any other universal identifier) is not sufficient to reliably authenticate any party in this transaction, but this use is commonplace. Authentication needs to be performed in a way that someone eavesdropping on a transaction cannot then masquerade as either the individual or the government service system for any operation. Moreover, the authentication should not center on questions whose answers are easily obtained by a fraudster via public records that are available online (e.g. property tax records). In this regard, the E-Verify self check implementation is troubling.
One form of identity management and access control that is being proposed is the use of biometric solutions. Given currently available technology, the idea of a tamper-proof identity card is a myth. No identification is completely tamper-proof or secure because perfect security is simply not possible. For example, an attacker could steal or counterfeit the ID, etc. Ultimately, security is about risk analysis. Thus, it is important to focus on risk-based approaches to improving identification, such as counterfeit-resistance. [House Subcommittee on Social Security, 4/14/11, via the Association for Computing Machinery]