On March 17, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) jointly announced three new initiatives designed to enhance E-Verify, the Web-based system operated in partnership by USCIS and the Social Security Administration that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees.
The initiatives include:
- An agreement between USCIS and the Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices (DOJ-OSC) aimed at streamlining the processing of E-Verify employer misuse and discrimination claims
- New E-Verify civil rights and civil liberties videos that focus on explaining E-Verify procedures and policies, employee rights, and employer responsibilities under the program
- A new telephone hotline designed to improve E-Verify customer service
The agreement between USCIS and DOJ-OSC establishes a procedure for referring discrimination and employer misuse cases between the two agencies for better enforcement through increased information sharing. Under the agreement, DOJ-OSC will receive referrals of potential discrimination cases that come to USCIS, while USCIS will receive referrals of potential E-Verify misuse cases that are not within DOJ-OSC's enforcement area. Shared information includes information from E-Verify queries such as citizenship status and employer information. DOJ-OSC will use the information to identify patterns or practices of discrimination and to investigate individual claims of citizenship or immigration status discrimination, national origin discrimination, unfair documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification process, and retaliation. Similar agreements are already in place between DOJ-OSC and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as well as between USCIS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The E-Verify videos were created by the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and USCIS to help employers understand their responsibilities under E-Verify and to inform employees of their rights when working for employers enrolled in E-Verify. The video for employers, “Understanding E-Verify: Employer Responsibilities and Worker Rights,” is available in English. The video for employees, “Know Your Rights: Employee Rights and Responsibilities,” is available in English and Spanish. Both are available online at www.dhs.gov/e-verify or www.youtube.com/ushomelandsecurity and can be requested by e-mail at [email protected].
The E-Verify hotline is a dedicated telephone number created to respond to employee inquiries, issues, and complaints. It will use an interactive voice response system that will allow callers to choose from four options: general E-Verify information; completing the Form I-9; contesting an E-Verify case; and filing a discrimination or employer misuse complaint. The hotline can be reached by dialing 888.897.7781 and is active as of today, April 5, 2010.