SHRM: 'New Employee Verification Act' Better than Fed's E-Verify System

The Society for Human Resource Management led a coalition of business leaders and HR professionals in endorsing legislation that would create the nation's first mandatory employment verification system for all U.S. employers. Known as "The New Employee Verification Act," the legislation is intended to prevent unauthorized work in the United States by requiring verification of all new hires through the use of what proponents call an electronic, reliable, and more secure system than currently exists. Representative Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced the legislation.

"The government hasn't given employers the right tools to ensure a legal workforce," said SHRM President and CEO Susan R. Meisinger. "This bill is a major step toward doing something meaningful to stop illegal immigration." The new verification system would be superior to the federal government's existing program, known as E-Verify, because it would rely on a more accurate, up-to-date database, and it would be entirely electronic, thereby eliminating susceptibility to fraud and identity theft, Meisinger said. The bill also strengthens enforcement through enhanced penalties on employers and by referring mismatches found in Social Security numbers to the Department of Homeland Security for further investigation.

The legislation would create a voluntary biometrics option that employers could choose to use in the verification process. This system would include a standard background check and the collection of a "biometric" characteristic--such as a thumbprint--to secure an employee's identity and prevent the illegal use of a Social Security number, stolen or fraudulently-obtained driver's license, or altered identification documents. To ensure privacy and system accuracy, the legislation requires direct consultation with a panel of public/private sector experts in designing the system, and also by requiring annual reporting on system performance by participating federal agencies and the Government Accountability Office.

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