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SHRM Urges Virginia Assembly to Reject E-Verify Employer Mandate
 

   8/3/2009

SHRM Urges Virginia Assembly to Reject E-Verify Employer Mandate 

Former Congressman Bruce A. Morrison Outlines Problems with E-Verify

Alexandria, Va. – In testimony today on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), former Congressman Bruce A. Morrison urged the Virginia Small Business Commission to reject proposals to mandate the use of E-Verify by Virginia employers.  E-Verify is the controversial federal employment verification system that has significant technical shortcomings, including reliance on error prone federal databases, and a vulnerability to fraud and identity theft.

SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management, and represents more than 250,000 individual members, including 15,711 members in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  A Member of Congress from 1983 – 1991, Morrison is a former Chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee and is author the Immigration Act of 1990.  He is also a former member of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform.

In his testimony, Morrison stated:

“From its beginning, E-Verify has been a laudable effort.  Using the technologies available at the time, it has provided a fairly reliable option for employers seeking a better method than a simple review of paper documents for employment verification.  However, as technologies have evolved, the E-Verify program has remained static. 

“…Because E-Verify remains a paper-based system, it is unable to detect many forms of document fraud and identity theft.  This leaves all employers vulnerable to sanctions through no fault of their own. …Simply stated, unauthorized workers are using stolen Social Security numbers, fake certificates and fraudulently-obtained photo IDs to bypass the system and gain employment.”

Morrison continued by cautioning legislators that state action to impose mandated E-Verify was making the situation worse.

“Over the past two years – primarily due to an understandable frustration on the part of state and local governments over the lack of immigration control – many jurisdictions have enacted their own laws on employment eligibility verification.  The desire to deter illegal immigration proactively by ending unauthorized employment is both understandable and laudable, and one we support. …What is resulting, however, is a confusing and complex patchwork of laws and regulations that could make it all but impossible for multi-state businesses to comply, and that do not serve the interests of employers, employees or the country.”   

“…As a pilot program, E-Verify has been very worthwhile in highlighting the challenges in creating a system for the many hiring situations in the U.S. economy.  It is time, however, to go beyond E-Verify and to provide employers the option of enrolling in a more secure system.  That is why SHRM has endorsed a bill now before the U.S. Congress entitled the New Employee Verification Act (NEVA) – as it will employ far superior technologies, and represents the next generation in effective employment verification.”

A copy of Congressman Morrison’s testimony is available at www.legalworkforce.org.

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The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org.

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