USCIS announces new upgrade to the E-Verify system

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a major enhancement to its E-Verify program that should significantly decrease the incidences of identity fraud.

E-Verify upgrade
On Nov. 18, Alejandro Mayorkas, director of USCIS, released a statement detailing the E-Verify enhancement, which uses a new safeguard to “lock” any Social Security numbers (SSNs) that have apparently been “stolen, borrowed, purchased or otherwise misused … and prevent further abuse of the compromised number in E-Verify records,” according to the announcement.

The new feature resembles the protections credit card companies use to prevent theft and fraud. By using a combination of algorithms, analysis and detection reports, USCIS can track misuse and disable a SSN it thinks is being used fraudulently.

In the announcement, Mayorkas noted that the new measure is another step in the agency’s determination to strengthen “E-Verify’s ability to combat identity fraud,” describing the development as, “yet another significant safeguard for E-Verify users [that] could assist employees who have had their Social Security numbers stolen or compromised.”

When the new system detects the use of a locked SSN, a “Tentative Nonconfirmation” (TNC) notice is sent out, and the person who used the disputed number can contest the finding at a local Social Security Administration (SSA) field office. At that point, an SSA officer will review the case, and if the TNC is found to be in error it will be converted to “Employment Authorized” status.

Impact on immigration reform
This newest development could help push immigration reform legislation closer to passage, since the enforcement of illegal activities has been a major sticking point in the debate.

Congressional Republicans have made border security and the enforcement of existing immigration laws their top priorities in the reform process. So measures like this newest USCIS initiative could help sway them toward compromising on other aspects of comprehensive legislation.