Today's oversight hearing will examine the use of fraudulent documents by illegal immigrants who are seeking employment and how E-Verify can help to eliminate a problem that negatively affects millions of Americans and legal immigrants who are unemployed.
However, before discussing my views on this issue, I want to explain why one of the witnesses initially invited to the hearing will not be testifying this morning.
My staff contacted ICE over two weeks ago. We requested that an ICE official testify about the specific issue of how pervasive fraudulent documents are in the context of employment authorization. We asked that ICE provide an overview of the issue as well as relevant statistics and data.
Unfortunately, the testimony ICE submitted was unresponsive to that request. Therefore, I disinvited ICE as a witness. I will leave to others to speculate as to why ICE's testimony was unresponsive. Now, I will move to the topic of today's hearing.
If one types the words "fake identification documents" into any Internet search engine, you'll be inundated with web sites that specialize in producing fake IDs. You'll even get results for YouTube videos featuring step-by-step instructions on how to make fake IDs.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 put in place the weak standard of employment eligibility verification. It states that an identification document simply has to appear genuine on its face. As a result of that low standard, the ID black market is no longer used overwhelmingly simply by underage teenagers who want to get into a bar on a Friday night. Maybe sometimes on a Saturday night.
Now fake IDs are a million-dollar business that helps illegal immigrants secure jobs that should be reserved for Americans and legal residents.
Today's hearing highlights how pervasive the use of fraudulent IDs are in employment authorization and how E-Verify can combat that use.
E-Verify allows employers to check the work eligibility of new hires by running the employee's Social Security number or alien identification number against Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records.
Recent polling shows that 82 percent of likely voters support requiring employers to use E-Verify.
And Americans are right to support a program that makes it much more difficult to use fake identification to get a job. Under E-Verify, in order to be confirmed as work authorized, the Social Security number, name and date of birth must all match the information on file with SSA and DHS. If there is no match, then an individual is not confirmed to be work eligible.
Unfortunately, for most employers, E-Verify is a voluntary program.
As it currently operates, E-Verify is susceptible to identity theft. That is why H.R. 2885, the "Legal Workforce Act," which Mr. Smith and I introduced, contains several measures that will help close the identity theft loophole and further prevent the use of fraudulent documents in the hiring process.
I look forward to the testimony of the witnesses today and I yield back the balance of my time.