March 18, 2010
Mayorkas Testifies to Ongoing Efforts to Improve E-Verify's Ability
to Combat Identity Fraud
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director, Alejandro Mayorkas,
appeared before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on
Homeland Security yesterday to
discuss the Service’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2011 and
several other matters, including the USCIS' ongoing development of the E-Verify employment
eligibility verification system and efforts to combat identity fraud
within the system.
Mayorkas addressed concerns regarding the E-Verify system’s limited
ability to combat identity fraud, citing a recent report which found
that slightly less than half of the unauthorized workers run through the
system were accurately identified as such. He announced several measures
which the Service is currently pursuing in an effort to improve E-Verify's
ability to detect identity fraud:
- Adding passport photographs to E-Verify's photo
- Development of tools that will allow workers to
"lock" their Social Security Numbers in E-Verify until they change jobs.
- Development of "Self-Check" functions in E-Verify
that will allow employees to proactively identify and resolve data
issues outside the hiring process and potentially prevent data
mismatches in the E-Verify system.
- Improvement of system algorithms for better data
- Continued use of enforcement tools outside of
E-Verify, including the I-9 audit program
Mayorkas also acknowledged that E-Verify's ability to combat identity
fraud will be limited until the system obtains access to state driver’s
license photographs, which are the largest available pool of biometrics,
however he stated that the agency is "examining other biometric and
biographic options to strengthen verification of employees and reduce
misuse, fraud, identity theft, and abuse."
The Service’s FY 2011 budget request for E-Verify is $103.4 million.
E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows an employer, using
information reported on an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility
Verification, to determine the eligibility of that employee to work in
the United States. The E-Verify system is operated by the Department of
Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security
Read Mayorkas' full testimony