Most of the immigrants in the United States do work, including some who are present without inspection, and sometimes it can be a bit of a balancing act between immigration law and employment anti-discrimination provisions for employers. Conversely, an employer may try too hard to abide by immigration regulations and comply with E-Verify regulations, and wind up breaching an employee’s rights. Having at least a basic understanding of the whole picture can help clarify matters for you so that you can take appropriate measures if you feel your rights have been infringed.
E-Verify is a program instituted in 1996 that allows businesses to test whether their workers are in valid immigration status upon hiring (it is not permitted by law to test workers after their hiring date). The program compares the data from an employee’s I-9 form, the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, to the national database. If the information matches, the employee is deemed eligible to work. If not, the employer will be alerted and the employee will either have to sort out the error, or they will be treated as having committed an immigration violation.
E-Verify is utilized somewhat differently by every state, with many requiring it, while others actively discourage its use due to perceived bias and errors in the databases used to compare records. It is remarkable, however, that the states whose use is infrequent are not those one might think. Texas and Florida both have significant undocumented populations, with the accompanying amount of anti-immigrant sentiment, but less than one-third of new hires are screened with E-Verify. Illinois actually attempted to ban the program’s use in 2007, though the law was eventually struck down. The modified law permits the use of E-Verify, but does not encourage it, and requires a sworn statement that the employer has gone through training on the program’s potential issues.
There is a persistent belief that E-Verify does not do enough to protect the rights of either immigrants or U.S. citizens with regard to potential errors. For example, if you are unlucky enough to have your name match, or to have had your identity stolen, by someone who is not eligible to work, it is not implausible that the issue might give you problems with employment. This can even happen to citizens - the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that the Social Security Administration had admitted that up to 17.8 million of its files contain at least some incorrect data - if you are prevented from working due to no fault of your own, it may very well be actionable.
If you are undocumented and are discriminated against on the basis of your national origin, it can be a frightening thought to go to the relevant authorities, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Under this administration, actions that should in theory not open you up to immigration consequences may have that effect. Yet it should be understood that even if you are undocumented, you have certain rights, namely to be free of discriminatory policies based on your national origin. While you are in theory not permitted to be hired without authorization, once you are hired, you do have the right to stand up for yourself.
Under this administration, it is not unheard of that those who speak up against discrimination while undocumented wind up being referred for deportation proceedings. This should not happen - but if it does, having an attorney on your side can make a big difference in how it will go. The dedicated DuPage County deportation defense attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will work with you and do our very best to ensure that you understand your options and how best to proceed. Call our offices today at 630-932-9100 to schedule a free consultation.
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