FEBRUARY 26, 2010
The highly-touted Homeland Security program that screens undocumented workers fails to catch more than half of the illegal immigrants run through its database, even when stolen Social Security numbers are repeatedly used by different people.
Tens of thousands of U.S. employers use the free online program known as E-Verify to screen undocumented workers and the Obama Administration is pushing more companies to use it as a tool to help curb illegal immigration. It turns out however, that the system is seriously flawed and fails to detect more than 54% of the unauthorized workers it checks, according to a new report.
A Maryland-based company under contract with the Department of Homeland Security revealed the information after an extensive evaluation of E-Verify. Responding to the findings, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she doubts the 54% inaccuracy rate for illegal workers and assured things are being added to the system to root out identity fraud.
In the meantime, the program regularly clears unauthorized workers and misses most illegal aliens because it can’t detect identity fraud, according to the probe which was made public this week. About 184,000 of the nation’s 7 million to 8 million employers are using E-Verify, according to the Department of Homeland Security, which has poured tens of millions of dollars into the program.
In its 2010 budget alone, Congress gave the agency about $100 million to spend on E-Verify, which is being heavily promoted the White House as a highly effective tool that allows companies to run employees’ information against Homeland Security and Social Security databases to assure the person is allowed to work in the U.S.
Federal officials claim that many glitches have already been corrected in E-Verify since it was launched in the late 1990s. Among the improvements are changes to reduce typographical errors, a photo-screening tool to combat document fraud and the creation of a compliance unit to detect and deter identity fraud.
Evidently that part is still under construction since the report finds that a mere 9% of the Social Security numbers used multiple times—obviously by illegal immigrants—were identified by the system as undocumented aliens.
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