Local News

Getting Any State Job Now Means Online Immigration Check

Posted January 25, 2007
Updated January 26, 2007

A program designed to prevent illegal immigrants from working in the U.S. is being used in North Carolina, and this month the state is screening all new employees through the Employment Verification Program.

Critics content, however, that the system is flawed and will keep some legal workers from earning a living.

The program is a free, online system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An employer types in a new worker's information, such as name and Social Security number, and within seconds the employer can find out if that person is eligible to work in this country.

All state agencies, offices and universities must screen new employees using the system.

"It is a little bit nerve-wracking for the employees, understanding that they are going to have their employee verification process through the federal government," Vicki Bradley, human resources director at UNC-Chapel Hill, said Thursday.

Bradley said about 800 new employees have been put in the system since Jan 1. Of those, 41 new employees have been red-flagged, which gives them eight days to resolve the issue with the federal government or be fired.

Merisol Jimenez, director of the Hispanic advocacy group El Pueblo, said she is not comfortable with the new system.

"We have serious concerns about this program, Jimenez said. She said it is backlogged and often spits out bad information regarding people going through the immigration process.

"There is a lot of flux that happens with individual cases with immigration, and a database just can't keep up with that," Jimenez said.

While the system may not be perfect, Bradley said the university must follow the law and make sure its workers are legal.

"We follow the requirements and do what we are supposed to do to make sure that we do have employees that are verified to work in the United States," Bradley said.

The public school system goes next. Schools begin implementing the system March 1.

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  • StopRacismNow Jan 26, 2007

    Everyone of you with negative comments should really look hard at your lives? Who taught you guys to hate so much? You should be ashamed of yourselfs. Is this what you are teaching your children? Shame on you!!!!!

  • StopRacismNow Jan 26, 2007

    Not all illegals are from Mexico "mensa"(deja 1221). How about all of the illegals here from South America, Africa, Europe and let's not forget our neighbor to the north Canada? Stop discriminating.

  • huntleyperez Jan 26, 2007

    Heads up......this is just the beginning. When more companies are fined they all are going to verify employment legal status and they should have all along. This is a no brainer you are either legal or not......case closed. The U.S. does not owe another country the cure for their corrupt policies and poor leadership but when you have 2 men fighting to be president what can you expect?

  • Low Voltage Jan 26, 2007

    pastafazool, do the rest of these comments answer your question?
    (And I'm a long way from being broke FYI!)

  • Cowboy Jan 26, 2007

    Kick their illegal butts back to Mexico.

  • steve2 Jan 26, 2007

    QUOTE: Good thing N.C. now do something about the rest of them that are taking our jobs

    Yeah. I will never achieve my dream of scrubbing toilets because of this unfair competition with illegals.

    Seriously, though, what nisa59 said.

  • frpajebr Jan 26, 2007

    What about the ones who are already in the system? The ones who are already working and are illegal? At some point and time, are all employees going to be checked on?

  • nisa-pizza Jan 26, 2007

    I hope it works too! I don't hate Mexicans, Central or South Americans. I've had friends who are from every where (Yugoslavia, China, Slovakia,Kenya, Togo, England, India and Australia) also including the countries of Mexico, Brazil and Honduras and ALL of them had work visas and the proper documents; would show them with pride and didn't feel "uncomfortable" at all. They worked hard to get it and I'm happy for them. So it can be done (sometimes it takes a long time). And as far as I'm concerned as long as you're here legally then there is no problem.

    It's a shame that Latina people who are here through the proper LEGAL channels are forced to have to defend themselve because of the huge number of illegals who come here to work. This is a move in the right direction.

  • rhamkatte Jan 26, 2007

    Tell Jimenez that we don't care if she is "comfortable". If they aren't legal, send them home!!!!

  • swamprunner7630 Jan 26, 2007

    To answer your question AMANDANSON, us legal AMERICANS would be able to provide proof that we are legal AMERICANS within the eight days. We have birth certificates, drivers licenses, some have military id and most of all INCOME TAX STATEMENTS where WE the AMERICANS pay our state, federal, property, school,...and the list goes on...tax. So it would not me a problem if WE show up.
    I also believe this will help with the growing identity theft problem. So go get em E.V.P. system!!!!