Updates to E-Verify and the “RIDE” Program Coming Your Way
On June 12, 2011, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released the latest version of the E-Verify web user interface addressing many common interface complaints its users brought up. It should be available to all employers within six months.
The biggest addition to E-Verify is its RIDE program. Initially, RIDE will be released as a pilot program, with only the state of Mississippi participating. During this pilot program, Mississippi’s Department of Motor Vehicle (“DMV”) database of drivers’ licenses and permits will work side-by-side with E-verify to verify state issued documents. RIDE stands for Records and Information from DMVs for E-Verify. The RIDE program has been implemented to detect identity fraud when an identity thief presents the documents of his victim. In the past, USCIS had a photo-match tool for “green cards,” employment authorization documents, and passports. However, 19 out of every 20 cases submitted to E-Verify dealt with drivers’ licenses, drivers’ permits, and state-issued identification cards.
RIDE will give employers the ability to validate drivers’ licenses, drivers’ permits, and state-issued identification cards against MVA data of Mississippi. E-Verify sends information to MVA, which then determines if the employee matches her documentation. The employer will not see the MVA record, only the final response given by E-Verify. In case of a RIDE mismatch, the employee must call a USCIS status verifier and fax a copy of the document to establish identity.
Additionally, E-verify now permits an employer to list a future date as the date of hire. In the past, E-Verify would not permit an employer to record a future date of hire in its system for fear of condoning illegal pre-screening of job candidates. However, this tied the hands of employers when they hired employees for future start dates but wished to complete their I-9 and E-Verify cases immediately. E-Verify has been changed to allow for the recording of hire dates up to one year in advance.
Data validation has been improved under the new E-Verify interface. For example, in the past, employers presented with US Passport Cards or foreign passports with proper I-94 documentation would have difficulty entering the requisite nine-digit passport number into the E-Verify system because of the disparate numbering systems. Now US Passport numbers can be between 6 and nine alpha-numeric characters, and visa numbers can be eight alpha-numeric characters.
Stay tuned for I-9 and E-Verify updates to ensure your company is properly complying with the law.
Daniel N. Ramirezis a named partner at Monty & Ramirez, LLP. He is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Specialization and has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine.
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