I recently attended a session at the Migrant Policy Institute that focused on E‑Verify, the system that would require employees to verify their identities and legal status through an electronic program. The Migrant Policy Institute discussion focused on possible ways to expand this system and perhaps better it for everyone involved. The only people who don’t seem to benefit from the expansion of E‑Verify are the employees. They would have to jump through additional hoops to maintain or obtain employment.
I was more than a little surprised by the types of solutions offered by MPI to improve E‑Verify, as they seemed very invasive and expensive, not to mention Big Brotherish. Possible solutions included biometric cards and registering for a personalized PIN that would be provided to employers who could then access a database that verified identities.
While MPI said it was trying to address issues of identity fraud in order to protect employees, I really don’t think that the workers’ interests are at the heart of these proposals or the E‑Verify system. Another concern is how E‑Verify might be used to check the statuses of current established employees as well as new-hires, which would require people settled in their employment to go over the same hurdles as a new-hire. There must be a better way to regulate employment practices than to strike fear in the hearts of immigrant employees who just want to create a new life for themselves and their families.