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Government Accountability Office releases report on Employee Verification System

01.27.11

FEBRUARY 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Government Accountability Office releases report on Employee Verification System

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, January 20th- The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released their report entitled “Employment Verification: Federal Agencies Have Taken Steps to Improve Employee Verify, but Significant Challenges Remain.”

The report provides a summary of the GAO’s findings regarding where the agencies Verification Division may move to implement modifications to the existing system based upon GAO’s recommendations to ensure accuracy of employees legal status to work in the United States.

The report was conducted to assess how the agencies involved have been able to ensure the accuracy of the verification process and whether either or both have taken measures to combat fraud. Specifically, GAO examined efforts taken by the agencies to:

• reduce tentative nonconfirmations,
• safeguard private information submitted and,
• prepare for the increased use of the program that may result from either increased state and local legislation (executive action) or a federal mandate.

Some of the other findings include:

• Employees are limited in their ability to identify the source of and how to correct information in the databases (including the significant delay in the correction process commonly taking an average of 104 days).
• Long-term cost associated with the administration of the Employee Verify program and complementary national systems and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases do not reliably depict current budgetary allocations for the costs of adminitration.
• Securing sufficient resources to effectively execute the program plans for the future has not been anticipated and may not be properly antipated in budgetary projections.

Notwithstanding the findings, there is a clear message contained in the report. Comprehensive reform is required to root-out the incidence of document fraud. The use of identification/authorization documents is the only likely cure of the ills currently inherent in the system.

Ultimately the report states a great deal of the burden to address the deficiencies of the current verification system will fall to employers.

The international lawfirm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, which specializes in immigration law stated, the current system cannot address the underlying reality that as long as at least 11 million unauthorized employees require employment to survive, a robust market of sophisticated, fraudulent documents will flourish.

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