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The ICE-man cometh… Gaming the SSA.

 The situation U.S. employers now face regarding hiring is bearing the legal onus to the question, “Is this person allowed to legally work in the United States?”

The United States  Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has now fully implemented (commenced in 2011) an online services program in which one can immediately check his/her immigration work status, such site under the law enforcement jurisdiction of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).   The program Self-Check allows an individual to review his information and research the  information that federal agencies such as the SSA, Homeland Security, USCIS

Self-Check comes on the heels of regulation being pushed by legislators that requires  all employers to verify the immigration status of employees via an online program, Verify.  (We have major reservations [still] about E-Verify in that there are so  many ways to get around its confirmation process [as has been reported lately on the use of the SSNs of dead folks by illegal immigrants] and on a more serious note, makes employers a de facto arm of law enforcement is an abhorrent concept.)

To review,  prior to an employee with a potential “glitch” in his employment status applying for a job, (wherein the employer would have to validate his legal standing to work), he can check his own status online by himself.  Within that self-check, s/he can then determine the appropriate corrections necessary, if any. There are enough loop holes in this 2-tiered program to run a circus through.

Step One:  Check hirability.  The answers to the Self-Check questions are based primarily on the address history of the person applying.   Once someone has obtained a SSN or a TIN (taxpayer identification number), running a reverse address check is very easy and often free online.  (We’re not going to tell people how to do it but given our experience, take our word for it that acquiring address histories is a cake walk, especially for a determined person.)

Step Two: Establish an E-Verify’d account.  In this portion of the Self-Check process, once an applicant has been given clearance by USCIS as being hirable – via Step One above –  that individual then sets up an E-Verify account in which information will be stored for access by potential employers.   So anyone with an SSN or TIN and birth and address history can legitimize his/her identity.   How do future employers know then who is really showing up for work?  S/he won’t.

The major issue with Self-Check and  E-Verify then is of identity verification.  (Note:   E-Verify claims that in the future, it will  include a photo comparison – courtesy of Homeland Security – but they won’t release the collection data criteria.)  Will the Social Security Administration continue to issue the harder-to-track TINs? Will the IRS verify the jobs held and dates of employment assigned to each SSN? As we found out last week when millions of illegal aliens were discovered to be using the SSNs of dead people, not likely.)

Self-Check and E-Verify are good starts in the effort in removing the unwanted competition between legally hirable employees and undocumented immigrants for work but,  where employers part with these government plans is on the issue of liability.  If a person desires  to “get over” on the system, they will.  If an employer has complied with E-Verify and other hiring regulations (which obviously to date have not really turned out all that well), why should the employer be held responsible to a system in which she had no input in designing?  And the employer will face penalties for hiring errors regardless of compliance with E-Verify. The obvious work facility access requirement – a retinal scan , fingerprint, non-invasive DNA monitor, appears logical  but then we have to consider the “privacy” issues these suggestions will undoubtedly raise.

Trust, but E-Verify.  We’ve reached that point.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.