Key Civil Liberties Protections for E-Verify Included in Immigration Reform Bill

May 16, 2013 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee met today to resume markup of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744). The following statement can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office:

“We remain concerned about the immigration bill’s mandate to use job-killing, costly and privacy-invasive employment verification, known as E-Verify. Yet overall, today’s amendments were a step in the right direction. Amendments passed today will ensure that workers be notified when their records are accessed, as with credit monitoring, and adopted some limited accuracy safeguards. A new Office of Small Business and Employee Advocate will help people navigate the inevitable problems with the system. These are key victories for workers and employers.”

These amendments that strengthen civil liberties protections in the bill passed:

  • Blumenthal 18, Coons 1, and Franken 2 and 4 – E-Verify Strengthened
    These amendments, among other things, require the Department of Homeland to develop procedures so that workers are notified of confirmations/non-confirmations; increase accuracy standards so that workers and small businesses can address errors once they occur; and creates a new Office of Small Business and Employee Advocate.

An amendment that would have weakened the bill failed:

  • Grassley 35 – State and Local Enforcement of Employment Verification
    Would have allowed states and cities, during the phase-in period, to impose their own civil and criminal sanctions on employers for failing to use E-Verify.

Unfortunately, a problematic amendment did pass:

  • Grassley 31 – Compels Reporting of Non-confirmations to ICE
    Requires a weekly report from USCIS to ICE with detailed information about every individual (and employer) who received a final non-confirmation in the E-Verify system.

More information about E-Verify is available here.

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