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Driver data may help verify workers’ status

Associated Press / May 27, 2011

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is about to add more personal information to E-Verify, an immigration enforcement tool that is vulnerable to fake, stolen, or borrowed documents.

The administration has said it will add driver’s license data from the state of Mississippi to E-Verify as early as June 8. The agency will test whether using the data can help better identify people working illegally in the United States. E-Verify checks workers’ information against Social Security and immigration records. E-Verify was not designed to check whether a document with valid information belongs to the person who presented it.

Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security, has tried to make up for E-Verify’s shortcomings by adding photos from US passports, green cards given to legal permanent residents, and work permits. But those cover only some workers.

About 80 percent of workers present driver’s licenses to establish their identity when filling out paperwork at new jobs, said Bill Wright, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees E-Verify.