Many Businesses Ignore E-Verify Laws

One key tactic used to control the massive flow of illegal immigrants to the United States is to make it difficult for businesses to hire workers who are not in the country legally.

The cornerstone of this program is the federal system called E-verify.

E-verify allows responsible business owners to quickly check the immigration bone fides of any potential employee.

As you may know, E-verify is a voluntary program but many states have passed laws making use of E-Verify mandatory.

One such state is Alabama which passed a law requiring E-verify in 2011.  While much of the law was suspended by federal courts, E-Verify has remained in place.

This is important for Alabama since it has a large poultry industry which constantly needs workers.

The jobs, which do not require English literacy, offer steady work and good pay. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, meat, poultry and fish cutters and trimmers in Alabama make a a $23,850 median wage.

When using E-Verify, some 70% of Hispanic applicants won’t make it through the hiring process because they are illegal immigrants.

Despite it’s usefulness, businesses don’t want to use E-Verify if they don’t have to.

One problem with E-Verify is that employees who challenge E-Verify’s findings are entitled to employer hearings, which can take weeks or months. Meanwhile, the workers in question can keep on working.

Complicating matters is that employees who worked for Alabama businesses prior to 2012 are not subject to the E-Verify law.

Some manufacturing businesses say that having to use E-Verify makes them less-competitive with non E-Verify states when it comes to recruiting employees, Kersey said. So they don’t use it.

“They know their competitor across state lines is not using E-Verify, does not have to use E-Verify, and is able to find bodies to do work,” she said.

‘The numbers are pretty startling’

Kersey also said that compliance with E-Verify – even in states that require it – is often spotty.

A 2013 story in the Arizona Star stated that fewer than half of all state businesses had registered in E-Verify since the state’s immigration law requiring it took effect in 2008.

In Alabama, less than 11 percent of all firms have registered in E-Verify, despite the state law.

Yes, even in a state which mandates E-Verify, nearly 9 in 10 businesses have not registered.