USCIS Expands myE-Verify Program as Compliance Actions Rise

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

May 5, 2015

myE-Verify, a free, web-based service for workers and job seekers provided by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is now available nationwide after an initial roll-out to five states. According to the USCIS, myE-Verify allows employees to find information regarding their rights during the employment eligibility verification process in addition to their employers' responsibilities during the process.

Employers do not use the myE-Verify portal, but instead use E-Verify. Currently, only those employers in states where E-Verify is required or that are federal contractors must use E-Verify to confirm the identity and work eligibility of new hires. However, employers that voluntarily use E-Verify should be aware that monitoring and compliance activities have doubled over the last few years, making a referral for enforcement much more likely than in previous years.

USCIS has released statistics regarding its monitoring and compliance activities for Fiscal Years 2011 through 2014. The total number of compliance activities have doubled during the four-year span, rising from 42,158 in FY 2011 to 87,843 in FY 2014. Compliance activities include routine compliance actions such as emails, telephone calls, desk reviews and site visits. Generally, desk reviews include the review and analysis of employer files and any suggestions for improvement or corrections by the Monitoring and Compliance branch.

However, the number of interagency actions, which include referrals to the US Department of Justice's Office of Special Counsel (OSC) or the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have doubled from FY 2013 to FY 2014 (443 and 909, respectively) and have increased ten-fold over the four-year span (86 to 909, respectively).

The OSC enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which protects workers from citizenship status or national origin discrimination in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral for a fee. The INA's provisions also include protections from document abuse and retaliation or intimidation. ICE may impose substantial fines on employers for failing to comply with employment eligibility verification requirements.