Job seekers must obtain Homeland Security approval

Adam Thomas
Press Esc
Saturday Aug 11, 2007

US citizens and other residents will require prior approval from Department of Homeland Security to get a job, under new immigration guidelines introduced by the Cabinet and sanctioned by President George W. Bush today.

This requirement was initially part of the failed immigration bill which has now been "within the boundaries of existing law to secure our borders more effectively," according to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff And Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.

The Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) has been renamed E-verify and will initially require more than 200,000 companies doing Federal business to use the system to establish employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers.

Later the system will be expanded to cover all companies and will include photo screening features through agreements to allow E-Verify access to the repository of photographs in state Department Of Motor Vehicles databases.

American Civil Liberties Union pointed out that the DHS's verification system is error plagued and if the department makes a mistake in determining work eligibility, there will be virtually no way to challenge the error or recover lost wages due to the bill’s prohibitions on judicial review.

"EEVS would be a financial and bureaucratic nightmare for both businesses and workers," said Timothy Sparapani, ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Under this already flawed program no one would be able to work in the U.S. without DHS approval - creating a ‘No Work List’ similar to the government’s ‘No Fly List.’ We need immigration reform, but not at this cost."

President Bush praised the two Secretaries for implementing these important reforms.

"Although the Congress has not addressed our broken immigration system by passing comprehensive reform legislation, my Administration will continue to take every possible step to build upon the progress already made in strengthening our borders, enforcing our worksite laws, keeping our economy well-supplied with vital workers, and helping new Americans learn English," Bush said.

It is not clear how this scheme will be funded, as the allocation of US$400 million for the implementation of the EEVS/E-Verify system was part of the immigration bill.

The Congressional Budgeting Office estimates the system to cost in excess of a billion dollars.

 

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