The immigration debate has proven to be fertile ground for promoting exceptionalist practices, where certain groups of people are isolated from the rest of the population and regarded as a subclass. The federal electronic employment verification system, E-Verify, is a prime example of such a practice. Passed under the Procurement Act, the goal of E-Verify was to promote efficiency and economy in government procurement. Unfortunately, the system falls far short of these goals because of problems inherent in the electronic database and increased state involvement over immigration reform. E-Verify is often criticized as unreliable because it relies on inaccurate databases, imposes an undue financial burden on employers, and leaves immigrant workers vulnerable to subjective determinations about their legal status. While Congress works on resolving these issues, the legal landscape is nevertheless changing as states enact and enforce their own immigration laws, including those that mandate the use of E-Verify. State entry into the immigration arena not only expands the reach of the system’s problems, but it also threatens to legitimize the exclusion of immigrants, documented or undocumented. This Comment describes how the implementation of E-Verify has frustrated the goals of efficiency and economy, and argues that Congress should establish definitive boundaries between state and federal immigration reform to restore the political imbalance.
Shelly C. Patel,
E-Verify: An Exceptionalist System Embedded in the Immigration Reform Battle Between Federal and State Governments,
B.C. Third World L.J.