Over the weekend (December 8-9, 2012), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) installed updates to the E-Verify system. Something seems to have gone awry as our clients, around the country, have reported irregularities with processing E-Verify queries since early yesterday morning. E-Verify is a web-based, voluntary program that compares an employee’s Form I-9 information with the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases. E-Verify is considered a best practice by the government in terms of immigration compliance and is part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s IMAGE program. Over the past four years, the E-Verify program has expanded tremendously and become more intuitive and notably easier for employers to use. E-Verify has refined the speed in which it processes queries and has become infinitely more accurate. The program has benefited from an enormous amount of funding directed at improving the quality of resources available to employees and employers, as well as increasing the frequency and accessibility of training provided by USCIS. The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel also has stepped up to offer a suite of resources including role-play videos and targeted E-Verify “Do’s and Don’ts”. While still susceptible to identity theft, the program continues to be upgraded and includes a photomatching component for U.S. Passports, Permanent Resident Cards, and Employment Authorization Cards. The decision to enroll in E-Verify should not be made lightly and includes planning and compliance. While the program is “free” significant resources should be dedicated to its implementation and ongoing monitoring.
E-Verify also integrates a pilot component to the program using the Records and Information from Department of Motor Vehicle DMVs for E-Verify (RIDE). RIDE improves the accuracy and strengthens the integrity of the E-Verify system by enabling it, for the first time, to compare driver’s license data against state records when determining employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. Mississippi began using the program in June of 2011. While the pilot stalled for a lengthy period, the USCIS announced today that Florida will be the next state to provide the federal government access to its motor vehicle identification database. With this addition, the driver license number placed into the E-Verify system is reviewed for comparison with the number in the issuing authority’s records
Yesterday’s issue seems to stem from the upgrade and will likely be resolved quickly. It appears that the system is still being updated, however, and the installation process is effecting the processing of some employees, resulting in erroneous Social Security Administration Tentative Non-Confirmations (SSA TNC). If an employee receives a SSA TNC, the next step in E-Verify is for the employer to click the “Print Notice” button so the user can review the TNC notice with the employee and the employee can choose whether to contest or not contest the TNC.
However, as a result of the updates to E-Verify, when employers click the “Print Notice” button, E-Verify does not generate the SSA TNC notice, but instead provides the following error message: E-Verify representatives have acknowledged the issue and are working to resolve it. E-Verify recommends that employers close the case that received a SSA TNC, selecting the reason that the data entered is incorrect.
E-Verify is working on fixing the problem and anticipates that all issues should be resolved by today, December 11, 2012. They further recommend re-entering the employee’s data into EVerify today. It is likely that many of these TNCs will be employment authorized once the system is working properly.Copyright © 2013, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.