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The Impact of E-Verify on Latinos

September, 2011 The Implications for Latinos* of a Mandatory Expansion of a System That Relies on Error-Ridden Databases

The Latino community now represents over 16 percent of the population--or 50.5 million residents in the United States1 and 15 percent of the country's labor force.2 Proposals that mandate the use of E-Verify, an electronic employment verification system, will hurt Latino workers and place a major new regulatory burden on Latino small-business owners. For example, in Georgia, where a mandatory E-Verify law was signed by the governor, a chef said, I recently put out an ad for a cook, and I got about 50 applications. I threw out all the ones that looked to be Mexican because we knew this law was coming down, and we didn't want to deal with it. I don't know if those folks are legal or not, but I just didn't want to even have to think about it.3 Naturalized Citizens and Foreign-born Workers Face Significantly Higher Risk for Database Errors Although steps have been taken to improve E-Verify's accuracy, tentative nonconfirmations (TNCs) ** issued to authorized foreign-born legal workers remain unacceptably high. Naturalized citizens are at least 30 times more likely than native-born citizens to be the subject of a database error that results in a TNC, and legal nonimmigrants (temporary workers) are 50 times more likely.4 Mandatory use of EVerify will create a new set of employment challenges for the more than 20.5 million foreign-born Latinos in the country.5 In contrast to the records for a U.S.-born worker, foreign-born workers relying on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records to prove their work authorization are at a greater risk for TNCs since these records are subject to ongoing updates and, consequently, recordkeeping delays.6 Furthermore, recently naturalized citizens may not be aware that they are required to notify the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) of their change in citizenship status, which can result in SSA database errors that generate TNCs. Record inaccuracies can stem from inconsistencies in entering name information. These types of errors are intensified when dealing with longer surnames, the use of multiple surnames, and name order associated with foreign names. These naming conventions can lead to confusion for DHS during data entry and for potential employers during the employment verification process. In Fiscal Year 2009, 22,512 TNCs resulted from name mismatches.7 Based on estimates from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services * For more information see the NCLR 2008 factsheet: Dangerous Business: Implications of an EEVs for Latinos

and the U.S. Workforce. The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) contributed substantially to this factsheet. **Employers receive a tentative nonconfirmation notice, or TNC, from either the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when the agencies are unable to automatically confirm a worker's employment eligibility. A tentative nonconfirmation notice is not an indication of an immigration violation, however, and workers have the right to contest the finding with the issuing agency.

The Impact of E-Verify on Latinos

September, 2011

and SSA, making E-Verify required for new hires nationwide would generate about 164,000 name-related TNCs yearly.8 Higher Database Error Rates Result in Adverse Employment Actions against Latino workers According to a DHS-funded study, E-Verify contributes to post-hiring discrimination against foreign-born workers since foreign-born workers with employment authorization are more likely to incorrectly receive TNCs.9 Due to their higher rate of TNCs, foreign-born workers are more likely to encounter adverse actions from their employers. In general, over 66 percent of workers report that employers took adverse actions against them when they received a TNC. These actions included not being permitted to work until the TNC is resolved, delaying training, or even reducing pay.10 In Fiscal Year 2009, 42 percent of workers reported they were not informed when E-Verify issued a TNC, which meant that their employer took away their right to contest the TNC.11 Receipt of an erroneous TNC puts an enormous burden on the worker and can result in loss of wages to challenge the error. The impact of having to fix government database errors is significant. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office called it formidable.12 o In fiscal year 2009, 22 percent of workers spent more than $50 to correct database errors, and 13 percent spent more than $100.13 o During the period of March 1, 2009 through April 30, 2010, about 3.1 million visitors waited more than one hour for service, and of those visitors, over 330,000 waited more than two hours. Further, in Fiscal Year 2009, about 3.3 million visitors left a field office without receiving service.14 In addition to the time and cost involved in contesting a TNC, many Latino workers may have to work around language barriers. Census figures indicate approximately 28 percent of Latinos speak English less than very well.15 Latino Small Business Owners Will Be Disproportionately Affected By a Mandate to Use EVerify Approximately 2.3 million businesses--8% of all U.S. non-farm businesses--are owned by Latinos.16 These businesses generate $271 billion in sales each year.17 Mandating the use of E-Verify will hurt Latino small business owners by adding another government regulation. Small businesses already bear the largest burden of federal regulations. As of 2008, small businesses faced an annual regulatory cost of $10,585 per

The Impact of E-Verify on Latinos

September, 2011

employee, which is 36 percent higher than the regulatory cost facing large firms.18 EVerify would overwhelmingly add to this burden. Mandating the use of E-Verify would also require Latino small business owners to expend valuable resources on training and infrastructure. Initial training includes studying an 82-page user's manual, completing a three-hour tutorial, and being required to pass a mastery test.19 In a survey of employers who currently do not use E-Verify, 25 percent of small employers said that they were not enrolled due to lack of resources, and 10 percent said that they lacked a computer with an Internet connection or they had a slow connection.20 Nationwide, small businesses are roughly two and a half times as likely as the largest businesses to report insufficient access to high-speed Internet.21

The Impact of E-Verify on Latinos

September, 2011 Endnotes

1

U.S. Census Bureau, The Hispanic Population: 2010, 2010 Census Briefs (May 2011), http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-04.pdf. 2 NCLR calculation using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Annual Averages-Household Data, Current Population Survey. Washington, DC, 2010, http://www.bls.gov/cps/tables.htm, Tables 3 and 4; NCLR calculation using U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Projected Labor Force Data-- Long-Term Projections to 2050, Civilian Labor Force, to 2050, Employment Projections: Labor Force Demographic Data. Washington, DC, 2010, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_data_labor_force.htm. 3 Besha Rodell, Georgia's Immigration Law and the Restaurant Industry, Creative Loafing Atlanta, July 11, 2011, http://clatl.com/atlanta/georgias-immigration-law-and-the-restaurantindustry/Content?oid=3526518. 4 Marc R. Rosenblum, E-Verify: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Proposals for Reform (Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute, 2011), http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/EVerify-Insight.pdf. 5 U.S. Census Bureau, Place of Birth of the Foreign-Born Population: 2009, 2010 Census Briefs, (October 2010), http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acsbr09-15.pdf. 6 Rosenblum, E-Verify Strengths, Weaknesses. 7, 19. 7 Richard Stana for the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Employment Verification: Federal Agencies Have Taken Steps to Improve E-Verify, but Significant Challenges Remain, 112th Cong., 1st sess., 2011, 19. 8 Ibid. 9 Westat, Findings of the E-Verify Program Evaluation, (Rockville, MD: Westat, 2009), http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/E-Verify/E-Verify/Final%20E-Verify%20Report%2012-1609_2.pdf, 235. 10 Ibid.,157, 204. 11 Ibid.,154, 199. 12 Stana, Employment Verification, 34. 13 Westat, E-Verify Evaluation,, 203­204. 14 Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Customer Waiting Times in the Social Security Administration's Field Offices, (Washington, DC: Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, 2010), http://www.socialsecurity.gov/oig/ADOBEPDF/A-04-10-11034.pdf, 3. 15 NCLR calculation using U.S. Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, 2009 American Community Survey. Washington, DC, 2009, http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en. 16 U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic-Owned Businesses: 2007, Survey of Business Owners. Washington, DC, 2010.

The Impact of E-Verify on Latinos

September, 2011

17

NILC calculation using U.S. Census Bureau news release, Census Bureau Reports HispanicOwned Businesses Increase at More Than Double the National Rate, Washington, DC, Sept. 21, 2010, http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb10-145.html. NILC subtracted $74.2 billion generated by businesses with 100 or more employees from total amount of sales in order to have the sum generated by small businesses. 18 Nicole V. Crain and Mark W. Crain, The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms (Lafayette College for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, Sept. 2010), http://archive.sba.gov/advo/research/rs371tot.pdf, iv. 19 Ibid. 20 Westat, E-Verify Evaluation, 25. 21 SCORE, Small Business & Broadband: Quick Fact Sheet, Nov. 7, 2010, www.docstoc.com/docs/46776238/43381-SCORE_Broadband_Consortium_Fact_Sheet_4_1_10.

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