While discussing immigration law at a White House press conference, President Barack Obama said improving the federal E-Verify employment eligibility system is key to strengthening US immigration reform, according to multiple reports.
Obama said enforcing tough security, a pathway toward US citizenship and a system that holds employers accountable for the immigrant workers they hire are all important steps toward fixing the nation’s “broken” immigration system. In particular, Obama said E-Verify – an online system that allows employers to quickly verify the citizenship status of a potential worker – needs to have safeguards put in place to protect individuals from being mistakenly identified as an illegal immigrant.
“E-Verify can be an important enforcement tool if it’s not riddled with errors, if U.S. citizens are protected – because what I don’t want is a situation in which employers are forced to set up a system that they can’t be certain works,” the president said.
While those in favor of the system claim it is a critical tool in preserving jobs for legal Americans, others claim it has improperly flagged a number of people as being ineligible for employment even though they were actually US citizens or permanent residents.
Seventeen states have passed laws or executive orders requiring employers to screen applicants through E-Verify before they are hired, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.