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E-Verify = increased government scrutiny

by Christine D. Mehfoud

The government agencies responsible for immigration-related matters are talking to each other. They are monitoring your E-Verify use and referring anomalies for investigation.  

Companies participating in E-Verify expose themselves to increased government scrutiny. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) E- Verify Monitoring & Compliance Branch (M&C) regularly monitors use of the system to ensure compliance with the E-Verify statutes and guidelines. And in its own words, the M&C “refers possible fraud, discrimination and illegal or unauthorized use of the system to other federal agencies, such as [the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS)] Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Justice [DOJ], and/or the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).”

Nowhere is the active referral process more evident than in the relationship between the M&C and the OSC. Through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) entered into in March 2010, the M&C “will refer [to the OSC] all matters that may involve an individual act or a pattern or practice of employment discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship status; document abuse; or retaliation” and “will also refer all matters that may involve the misuse, abuse, or fraudulent use of E-Verify that can result in the adverse treatment of employees” (emphasis added). The OSC will share “information relating to suspected employer or employee misuse, abuse, or fraudulent use of E-Verify” with USCIS.

Likewise, the M&C’s MOU with ICE states that the M&C “will refer suspected employer and employee misuse, abuse, and fraudulent use of E- Verify to ICE for investigative consideration concerning matters within ICE’s jurisdiction” (emphasis added).

Recent settlements announced by the OSC make clear that the referral process is alive and well. For example, the OSC’s recent settlement with Real Time Staffing Services, LLC, in which the staffing company agreed to pay a $230,000 civil penalty and set aside $35,000 to compensate damaged parties, was based on a referral from USCIS, presumably via the M&C. Likewise, the OSC’s recent lawsuit against Louisiana Crane Company stemmed from the company’s alleged noncompliance with E-Verify.

While many employers believe that participation in E-Verify will reduce their exposure to worksite enforcement, the opposite may in fact be true. The M&C’s increasing involvement in enforcement highlights the need for E- Verify employers to ensure they are using E-Verify correctly and that their underlying Form I-9 process will hold up under scrutiny.

Christine D. Mehfoud is an attorney with Spotts Fain in the firm’s Richmond, Virginia, office. Christine will be speaking on immigration issues at the annual Advanced Employment Issues Symposium in Las Vegas on Thursday, November 6. She will address the most complex immigration-related compliance challenges facing employers today and detail the legal steps for avoiding violations when hiring the employees you need. She may be contacted at

1 thought on “E-Verify = increased government scrutiny”

  1. And whatever I do in E-Verify,from hiring to passing the tests – I print out on paper. Every single employee in this company is documented via E-Verify ….on paper.

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