recent E-Verify news
September 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
ABC: As the slogan goes- Hooters restaurants are “tacky yet unrefined”. But don’t call them illegal. The Clearwater based ownership group of 23 stores carefully screens all their job applicants to make sure they’re in the country legally. Hooters is one of over 9,000 Florida employers using a federal database to screen new employees. The “E-Verify” system is mandatory in 16 states, but remains optional in Florida and elsewhere. Administrative assistant, Leslie Richardson at the Clearwater headquarters calls the “e-verify” system reliable and easy to use. It’s Richardson’s job to put the social security numbers and other information provided by new Hooters employees into the system. There’s no cost to access the database. About five new hooters employees get rejected by the e-verify system each month usually because there’s a mismatch between the social security number and the name or birthdate. Those workers have eight business days to explain the discrepancy during which time, they can continue to work. Richardson says those employees rarely contest the finding and usually just disappear. E-Verify has come up repeatedly in the Florida Governor and Senate races. Most statewide candidates support making E-Verify mandatory for all Florida employers, though there are detractors. An independent study from 2008 found E-Verify’s accuracy to be a mixed picture. The system correctly approved legal applicants 93 percent of the time. But it mistakenly approved illegal applicants 54 percent of the time. Jim Meeks of Parksdale Farms in Plant City has used the e-verify system for two years. “It’s perfect. It takes five minutes. You know immediately if someone’s legal and you’re good to go” said Meeks. Because farm operations are watched so closely by homeland security, Meeks says he has to hire carefully. Meeks says almost all field work in the Bay Area is done by immigrants- legal and otherwise. If E-Verify becomes state law, Meeks believes crops will go unpicked in the fields.