E-Verify Begins Checking Driver’s License and ID Cards from the State of Florida
Today, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the E-Verify system now checks driver’s license and ID cards from the state of Florida when presented by a new hire as a List B document for the Form I-9. Florida is the second state (behind Mississippi) to join the Records and Information from DMVs for E-Verify (RIDE) Program, which was officially launched last year in June. As with most new E-Verify enhancements, the name of the game here is improving accuracy and reducing the likelihood of document fraud.
Will the expansion of the RIDE program be a boon or a bane for employers using the system? And how exactly does the E-Verify RIDE program even work?
Read-on for a brief history of the system as well as an important update regarding electronic I-9 systems.
With over half a million employers now using E-Verify, the USCIS is constantly looking for new ways to improve the overall effectiveness of the system. The ultimate goal of E-Verify is to accurately confirm a new hire’s work authorization following the I-9 process. It sounds simple enough, but in the early years, E-Verify was plagued with database errors and inconsistencies (in fact, a TNC rate of 8% was once considered normal!). Part of this problem was due to the underlying data upon which E-Verify relies, including more than 449 million records in SSA’s NUMIDENT database and more than 80 million records in various DHS immigration databases.
Needless to say, E-Verify participation suffered, and many experts wondered whether the program would ever catch on. During the past few years however, the USCIS has dramatically improved E-Verify’s accuracy rate through an expansion of available databases and better quality control procedures. The end result is that there are now fewer “false negatives” in the system (person legally authorized to work receives TNC), which has helped facilitate employer adoption (along with an increasing number of mandatory E-Verify laws).
Despite these improvements, many lawmakers and employers still worry about “false positives,” which occur when a person who is not authorized to work in the U.S. is confirmed by E-Verify as work-authorized. Typically, false positives occur when an employee presents stolen, counterfeit, or “borrowed” identity documents which have been altered so that they appear as if they belong to the employee presenting the ID. While the E-Verify photo tool addresses some of these concerns (for US passports, green cards, and EADs), there are still many other documents (such as a driver’s license) which can slip through the E-Verify cracks.
E-Verify gets a nice RIDE
Recognizing that approximately 95% of employees use a driver’s license during the I-9 process (according to a DHS privacy study), the USCIS launched the E-Verify “RIDE” initiative last year, which automates motor vehicle document verification between participating Motor Vehicle Agencies (MVA) and the E-Verify employer. The process itself is fairly straight-forward: if the employee presents a driver’s license, driver’s permit, or state-issued ID card during the I-9 process, the employer is prompted to enter the document number and expiration into the E-Verify system which will automatically check against MVA records. Although the RIDE program does not actually display the driver’s license photo, the system will check to see if the data itself is valid and issue a tentative nonconfirmation (TNC) if it does not match DMV records.
In the event of a TNC, the employee will be advised to contact Status Verification Operations (SVO) and fax in a copy of their driver’s license. The SVO employee will attempt to resolve the TNC by reviewing the faxed copy of the driver’s license against the MVA database or contacting MVA support for more information. If the SVO employee is unable to resolve the mismatch, they will issue a final non-confirmation (FNC) in the E-Verify system. According to information from DHS, there may be also be an in-person process for people who have been issued an FNC, and wish to correct any incorrect information in their driver’s record.
How has RIDE been received?
As mentioned earlier, Mississippi was the first state to join the RIDE program in June 2011. According to USCIS statistics (and various reports from employers), the program has been generally well received with employers experiencing only a slightly higher TNC rate than normal (~95% confirmed as work authorized). The USCIS has been looking to partner with even more states to broaden RIDE’s footprint, but they’ve faced various obstacles, including concerns over privacy of the shared data and the technical resources to build the necessary MVA/E-Verify interface.
What does this mean for employers using electronic I-9 systems?
Effective December 15, 2011, all electronic I-9 vendors were required to upgrade their interfaces to “Version 23” of E-Verify, which enabled submission of Mississippi ID information and processing of a TNC (if applicable). So does this mean that my electronic I-9 system should now automatically submit Florida driver’s license information when required as well?
As it turns out, the USCIS planned for additional state partners to the E-Verify RIDE program all along – which means this should be a very smooth transition for E-Verify employer clients. As with Mississippi, your electronic I-9 system should send the extra ID information automatically in the initial query based on the document chosen. A well designed electronic I-9 system will also apply the correct data validation rule (which, by the way, is 8-14 Alpha-Numeric characters) in order to ensure a successful E-Verify submission.
Need more information on E-Verify RIDE or electronic I-9 system integration? Please contact us with any questions you might have!