By now, all Alabama employers must be enrolled in E-Verify to be compliant with Alabama’s immigration law. Enrollment is just the first step, however. Following E-Verify’s rules of use is a whole new ballgame.
I recently spoke at a legal conference for the Greater Pensacola Society of Human Resource Management regarding immigration worksite enforcement and E-Verify challenges. (I look for any excuse to go to the Gulf Coast.) Through the questions I received at the conference, I learned that many employers (in Alabama and elsewhere) are struggling with following the E-Verify rules.
And there is good reason for their confusion. I have heard other lawyers provide inaccurate information on this subject. For example, another lawyer told a group of employers that employers should E-Verify all existing employees (not just new hires) to make sure the employers’ workforces are authorized. Unless the existing employee is assigned to work on a qualifying federal contract, an employer is prohibited from E-Verifying existing employees.
The Verification Division of USCIS is monitoring E-Verify compliance by performing routine reviews of employers’ accounts. In other words, big brother is watching. Some of the more common rule violations or concerns that have been pointed out to employers via letters include:
•Failing to initiate E-Verify employment eligibility verification within three days of the hire date
•E-Verifying existing employees rather than new hires, unless authorized to do so
•Having an unusual number of Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs) that were uncontested by employees, which raises a suspicion of whether the employer is printing out the notices and allowing the employees to contest
•Verifying the same employee multiple times
•Failing to verify any employee for an unusual length of time, which might suggest that the employer is not verifying all new hires
In some of these cases, employers have been requested to contact the Verification Division through E-Verify@dhs.gov within a short time frame after receiving its letter. Misuse or violations of E-Verify rules of use may result in action by USCIS or trigger an audit by ICE.
Procedures for using E-Verify may be found in the E-Verify User Manual for Employers. Additional information may be found here.