Illegal Immigrants in the Workplace: Why Electronic Verification Benefits Employers

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Volume 8, Issue 2 (Jun 2012)

Illegal immigrants pose a serious financial risk for employers. Present federal law requires employers to make a “reasonable” determination regarding the validity of prospective employees’ documentation without overreaching and subjecting the employee to hiring discrimination. Failure to correctly make the determination or overreaching when doing so could result in criminal and civil penalties for the employer. The policy’s inherent difficulties have permitted some industries to become dependent on comparatively cheaper, illegal labor. Private enforcement actions and electronic verification are two proposed methods to help solve the problem. This Comment will compare these two methods and argue that electronic verification provides a more comprehensive and beneficial solution for employers while private enforcement perpetuates many negative aspects of current policy.

“We’ll enforce our immigration laws at the worksite and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers, so there’s no excuse left for violating the law.”

-President George W. Bush

Stephen A. Brown, Comment, Illegal Immigrants in the Workplace: Why Electronic Verification Benefits Employers, 8 N.C. J.L. & Tech. 349 (2007), available at

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