President Bush has moved the federal government a step a head of Utah and a step in the right direction:
The President signed an executive order (PDF) requiring firms that contract with the federal government to use the E-Verify system to verify they are hiring legal workers.
Most articles on the subject reference it as a measure to prevent illegal immigration. While it does help, the media (and the administration) miss the fact that E-Verify goes much further than checking immigration status. The program also serves to prevent identity theft.
While the majority of identity theft for employment is illegal immigrant driven, fugitives and deadbeat moms and dads are also notorious identity thieves for employment purposes. Fugitives don’t want to use their personal Social Security Number (obviously, they want to evade identification and capture) and deadbeats don’t want their wages garnished to pay for their child/spousal support. Illegal immigrants use stolen social security numbers to be eligible for work as well (click here for a description note: an illegal immigrant example is used but it applies to all classes of identity theft for employment). I’m sure other classes of identity thieves also use stolen identities for employment for other miscellaneous reasons.
E-Verify will prevent the above from obtaining a job from a legitimate employer receiving taxpayer funds.
Utah will also require State contractors use E-Verify beginning in 2009 (thanks to SB 81) and that is dependent upon the State legislature not messing with the legislation in the 2009 session (a non-election year). Hence, the federal government being a step ahead of Utah. At least the State is using the system for its new hires.
Finally, a large gap continues to exist as identity thieves of all stripes can continue to easily gain employment at the majority of companies (who don’t have government contracts). Some states (Colorado, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Arizona) have already taken measures to address the problem in full, requiring all companies to verify identity and employment eligibility while others(Idaho and Missouri) have already implemented to requirement for State contractors.