Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., today commended the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security for exploring the complexities of an employment eligibility verification system (EEVS) at its hearing on “Ensuring a Legal Workforce: What Changes Should be Made to Our Current Employment Verification System?”.
In recent weeks, the Senate has attempted to address enforcement of immigration laws at the workplace through piecemeal measures by approving an expansion of the flawed E-Verify system. “NCLR welcomes today’s hearing because this issue cannot be resolved through half-measures that do not solve the problems of our broken immigration system. But we urge Congress to tread cautiously because the details of this complex issue are critical,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.
According to an NCLR fact sheet, Dangerous Business: Implications of an EEVS for Latinos and the U.S. Workforce, foreign-born U.S. Citizens and legal immigrants would be significantly impacted by a national employment eligibility verification system because they are 30 times more likely than native-born workers to be wrongly flagged as ineligible to work. The Latino community is further impacted because workers with “ethnic” names, regardless of their immigration status, are likely to be victims of data entry mistakes and discrimination, since they are frequently perceived to be “foreign.”
Any employment eligibility verification system that is considered as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package must include:
·Improvements in database accuracy and adequate civil rights protections
·Clear guidelines for program monitoring and oversight
·Adequate staffing and funding to train employers and employees on the process and how to respond to complaints
“American workers can’t afford to lose their jobs in this economy because of database errors or employer misuse of an employment eligibility verification system,” added Murguía. “Let’s be clear, the solution is comprehensive immigration reform, and any form of verification needs to happen in that context to allow the system to work.”