May 6, 2009

Just When We Finally Start Getting Used to E-Verify...Here Comes NEVA!!

Ok, E-Verify just started and I am already sick of it. It is a hassle and an unbearable waste of time but requirements are requirements. I completely understand Obama's need to tackle the whole immigration reform issue and I applaud his efforts...really, I do. I just wish that he and his administration would make up their minds already. I went through the painful E-Verify "certification" process (ok...maybe not painful, just painfully boring), had the software installed on my computer and was ready to go when I hear there is a new bill being passed before congress called NEVA, the New Employee Verification Act or H.R. 2028. This bill, if approved, will completely replace E-Verify as the preferred (aka mandatory) way to verify new employees as having the legal right to work in the United States. NEVA's major components, per a recent SHRM article, are:

Employers would use the same system that their individual states use to verify workers. This is typically the system that is used by state child support enforcement agencies. The thought is that using the child support system would allow employers to verify both work eligibility and citizenship status quickly and efficiently. Yeah...ok. How's that working for child support enforcement? Hmmm...let me ask the millions of people still waiting on child support from the millions of deadbeat fathers and mothers of the world.

The bill would establish a "voluntary" (I air-quote because anything that the government dictates to be voluntary somehow always seems to turn mandatory) biometrics option that employees can choose to use. This system would allow employers to collect some biometric identification, such as a thumb print (although I can see employers now asking for DNA samples and retinal scans) to assist in establishing identity. Supposedly, the biometrics system would allow employees to use the information scanned to run a background check and prevent the illegal use of fraudulent identification documents. What I want to know is, 1) how much information does the government really need to have out there on us. Can you see Demolition Man being the reality of the future? and 2) who's to say that the biometrics aren't fraudulent to being with? If somebody obtained the documents falsely prior to the biometrics being in place, then how will we know? I'm sure "they" have it all figured out, but inquiring minds want to know.

Supposedly, this legislation would provide safety for employers who correctly used NEVA and still unknowingly hired an illegal. Wow...I am impressed that the government is actually admitting, up front, that there could possibly be flaws to their well-thought out and orchestrated plan. Bravo!!!

One good thing is that if this new process works as it says it should, it will eliminate the need for the I-9 form. One less piece of paper floating around out there in the world is alwasys a good thing.

The new process also would not require employers to re-verify existing employees, which is one step in the right direction for NEVA. E-Verify is a headache in that respect because companies are now required to re-verify all existing workers, which is a time-consuming and costly process. I am all for things that take less time and cost less money, as long as they are effective. The jury is, obviously, still out on the latter.

There are a few other less necessary to know points to the new legislature but I refuse to bore you with minutia. I will just say this...I am all for an easier way to get things done. I love that everybody is also going "green" in the process, although this should have always been the case. I am not against government or policy changes. What I do have a problem with is time wasting...particularly mine. So, message to the government...Get on with it and make up your mind. E-Verify, NEVA, traditional I-9 method, I don't care. Just pick something and stick with it!!

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