News & Resources

Electronic verification system could provide tighter immigration authentication

May 26, 2011 Brian Bradley

Foreign-born labor is widely acknowledged as the preferred work-force in the agricultural industry. However, California farmers still lack a reliable, legal way to hire and provide identify verification of foreign guestworkers, notes The Resource Report. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security conducts employer I-9 audits to determine the legal status of workers at individual farms. Yet when an audit shows a discrepancy, it's the employer's responsibility to clear up the problem with the employee or terminate his or her employment, the media outlet adds. During a recent speech at the U.S.-Mexico border, President Obama pointed out that there is currently an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and that the nation needs to provide farms with legal ways to hire workers that they rely on, and a path for those workers to earn legal status. An electronic verification system, called E-verify, is being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives to determine the eligibility status of prospective employees. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, E-Verify is an internet-based system that compares information from an employee's I-9 form to data from DHS and Social Security Administration records.