Roland Leggett, ACLU of Michigan Field Organizer

It’s amazing to me. Just when you think E-verify is dead (or at least on its way); it rears its ugly error-filled head. Recently Oakland County Commissioner James Runestad announced a proposal that would require contractors and vendors wishing to do business with the county to participate in E-Verify, the error-ridden federal database system.

This proposal would mean that Oakland County workers and businesses would be forced to undertake an additional burden during these difficult times that would keep residents from starting new jobs and put privacy at risk.

And we’re not the only ones questioning the reliability or viability of E-Verify. The Department of Homeland Security in a 2007 independent study concluded that "the database used for verification is still not sufficiently up to date to meet requirements for accurate verification." Also, the Social Security Administration, on whose files E-Verify relies, recently reported that 17.8 million of its files contain incorrect information. What's worse is that eligible workers who have been hurt by data errors have no quick or permanent way of correcting the misinformation so that they can get to work. This leaves both employees and employers hanging indefinitely, something that neither can afford in the current economic climate.

The E-Verify system has even come under fire by the Wall Street Journal and a variety of other publications for its far-reaching and potentially destructive economic consequences. A February Wall Street Journal editorial on E-Verify correctly emphasized, "The last thing employers need now is more bureaucratic red tape.

Furthermore, E-Verify will exacerbate a new kind of identity fraud. Requiring each worker to present his or her identity to be granted permission to work will lead some in desperation to steal the identities of work-eligible Americans. Ultimately, the identities of work-eligible people will become commodities for borrowing and sale.

Help us get the word out and tell the Oakland County Board of Commissioners that E-Verify is wrong for Oakland County, its business owners and hard-working residents.

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