NASE member, Stephen McNeilly featured in Wall Street Journal Article on Immigration Reform (Wall Street Journal)

NASE in the News

Stay tuned! Check out our latest videos, television appearances and podcasts.

NASE member, Stephen McNeilly featured in Wall Street Journal Article on Immigration Reform (Wall Street Journal)

NASE 2013 Member Council member Stephen McNeily was featured in a Wall Street Journal article on the potential impact of an E-Verify component of the overall Immigration Reform discussions.
April 10, 2013 

E-Verify Would Gain in Immigration Overhaul 

U.S. companies will have to embrace a little-known and potentially complex online system to verify their workers' legality if Congress accepts immigration overhaul legislation currently under consideration.

Some large companies endorse the use of an electronic status check to fix the nation's broken immigration system. Others worry about its accuracy and its potential delays.
Stephen McNeilly, owner of Service Proz Inc., said he uses the system, called E-Verify, to check employees at his various landscaping, maintenance and pest control businesses in Illinois and Florida. The upside: It is easy to use, he said. The problem is it can take as much as two months to get a response about a worker's status, he said.

"That is one of the glitches that is a big concern for us," Mr. McNeilly said. "When we need people, we need them quickly."

A bipartisan immigration proposal in the Senate would require all employers after five years to use E-Verify, a now voluntary system that helps detect unaccredited workers. Employers would be phased into the system, starting with those that work as contractors for the federal government and eventually encompassing small businesses.

The federal government launched E-Verify in 1996 as a pilot program to check workers' immigration status. The system compares information such as name and Social Security number provided on an I-9 employment form against records at the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. It also allows employers to match a worker's passport photo with a photo in the E-Verify database.

Business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce have indicated they wouldn't protest a mandatory E-Verify system as part of an immigration overhaul that includes visa programs for guest workers. On Wednesday, the Business Roundtable, which represents chief executives of some of the largest U.S. companies, said it supports a plan that requires employers to check employees' immigration status.

"I think we, the business leaders, are ready to participate in a nationwide system," Greg Brown, chief executive of Motorola Solutions, Inc., said of an employee-verification program.
Motorola already uses E-Verify and Mr. Brown acknowledged the system needs some updates. "At the end of the day I think it makes the most sense to us to maximize the use of that investment," he said.

Tyson Foods Inc. started using E-Verify in 1998 and now runs all of its new hires through the government system. The meat processor has adopted the system, among others, including a federal social security number verification program and audits by an outside firm, to protect its brand and ensure a stable workforce at its meat processing plants across the country, company officials said.

Among the steps it takes to ensure the legality of workers, E-Verify "is not a lengthy, time-consuming piece," said Alex Sanchez, an employment compliance specialist for Tyson. The system hasn't hampered its ability to fill positions, he added.

Some 409,000 employers were using the system by late 2012, a fraction of the roughly six million private employers. 

David Borris, owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Ill., said E-Verify would bring new complications to running a business with 25 full-time and 80 part-time employees. He said the business is already dealing with a slow economic recovery and rising foods costs and doesn't want to add the work of a federal immigration official to his managers' duties.

Mr. Borris said one of his concerns is the system's potential error rate. Employees flagged by E-Verify are "going to come right to my HR person, who is also my marketing person and my accounting person," he said.

The program has recognized flaws. It has been shown to stumble in trying to determine when someone is using a stolen identity. A 2009 study of the program, commissioned by the government, showed 6.2% of people checked through E-Verify were unaccredited workers. But half of them were able to fool the system. 

It has improved over the years, though. In fiscal 2012, 98.7% of queries accurately determined job candidates were work authorized, according to government data.
In 2008, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said such as system would cost $40 billion, a sum that includes implementation costs. It would have cost private-sector employers $136 million in a single year to comply with the program, CBO estimated.
Under the Senate plan, U.S. citizens and permanent residents would have to show their passports, drivers' licenses or green cards to new employers. The 11 million in the U.S. illegally and people coming to the U.S. legally with visas will have to show new, machine-readable identifications, according to a person familiar with the plan.

The new web-based system would replace the I-9 employment eligibility form all employers must currently collect for new hires. The plan will include protections for legal workers who are incorrectly rejected by the system. It will also include protections for employers who comply with the system but unknowingly hire illegal workers due to worker fraud. 
"We have to establish a system that's easy to be adapted," Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican member of the bipartisan group crafting immigration legislation said. But "we have to have employer sanctions for those people who knowingly hire someone who is in this country illegally or the whole thing doesn't work."

The Latest News from the NASE

Our RSS feed service allows you to retrieve instant updates from the NASE website. est articles, news, and other helpful information, all delivered directly to you!

Courtesy of