Groban Discusses E-Verify Participation

BNA's Daily Labor Report

Robert Groban, Chair of the Immigration Practice in the Firm's New York office, was featured in an article about how E-Verify participation requires an analysis of state laws and program benefits.

The article discussed how the decision to participate in the E-Verify program rests on both an analysis of the value of voluntary participation, as well as an assessment of state laws mandating use for some employers.

The federal government's inaction on an immigration overhaul has left a "vacuum" that states have filled with a variety of immigration laws, including those mandating the use of E-Verify in certain states, said Groban.

Even though many employment-related immigration laws are currently being challenged in court, employers must "follow the law in their jurisdictions" while the courts consider the laws, Groban said. In addition, for some employers, voluntary participation in the program is advisable, he added.

However, the Supreme Court's decision in the Arizona employer sanctions law case likely will impact "statutes in other states that will be governed by this case," Groban said.

The Arizona law before the Supreme Court will be a chance for the court to determine if "a state can make mandatory what the federal government says is voluntary," Groban said.

Signing up voluntarily for E-Verify "makes sense for some employers," Groban said.

E-Verify may make sense for employers looking to improve their image as a "good corporate citizen," and to avoid common employment verification problems, Groban said. While using the E-Verify system will not prevent workers from using false identities, it is still a "fairly easy mechanism to ensure that employees are authorized to work," Groban said.

In addition, Groban pointed out that the use of E-Verify is "not all or nothing" as employers can use E-Verify at one site first to "try it out" before implementing E-Verify at all of the firm's locations.

Finally, Groban said that when the Social Security Administration sends out no-match letters, which are sent to employers when employees' Social Security numbers do not match government records, employers who use E-Verify will feel confident that their employees are authorized to work in the United States.

If later on it becomes clear that the company has unknowingly employed illegal aliens, use of the E-Verify program can show the good faith of the company in trying to comply with immigration laws, Groban said.

On the other hand, there are businesses which are not good candidates for voluntary use of the E-Verify program, Groban said.

Such employers may include multinational organizations that frequently transfer employees and may receive tentative nonconfirmations from E-Verify at the time an employee arrives in the United States on a visa, delaying work that needs to be completed quickly, Groban said.

In addition, certain small firms, those that have few new hires, and firms that are fairly confident that they are not hiring undocumented workers may find that using E-Verify is an unnecessary administrative step, Groban said.

Whether or not a firm decides to use E-Verify, the decision cannot "be in isolation," Groban said. "There must be an integrated approach to immigration compliance," and E-Verify may be one piece of that approach, he said.