USACM Vice-Chair Testifies on Challenges of Electronic Employment Verification

On April 14, Dr. Annie Ant?n, Vice Chair of USACM and Professor in the Computer Science Department of North Carolina State University, testified in front of the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. She was one of the witnesses at a hearing on the Social Security Administration’s role in verifying employment eligibility. Other witnesses included staff from the Social Security Administration, the Government Accountability Office, and public interest groups interested in the issue. You can watch the hearing online.

Dr. Ant?n’s testimony focused on the effectiveness of E-Verify, an electronic system of employment verification used in a number of states for an increasing number of employers, with over 16 million queries in fiscal year 2010. USACM has testified on E-Verify and/or electronic employment eligibility before, in 2008 and 2007.

Highlights of Dr. Ant?n’s testimony included:

  • The E-Verify system cannot effectively detect individuals who use stolen or forged identities. A 2009 evaluation of E-Verify found that 54 percent of illegal immigrants checked by the system were incorrectly identified as employment-eligible for that reason.
  • Proper validation and testing of systems prior to widespread use will help minimize the possibilities of failure, which can contribute to additional identity theft and fraud.
  • Mission creep for a system like E-Verify can lead to additional technical issues, leading to cost and/or schedule overruns and increased security vulnerabilities.

As this is the third time USACM has testified on this issue, it seems likely that the issue will continue to be a concern for Congress going forward.

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