By Michael J. Lehet
On October 6, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the launch of its "myE-Verify" website. According to USCIS, myE-Verify is "a one-stop shop for employees to create and maintain secure personal accounts and access new features for identity protection" and "signifies a significant step forward for added transparency, features, and identity protection" related to E-Verify.
E-Verify is the Internet-based program that allows employers to compare information on an employee's Form I-9 with certain federal government records to verify the employee's identity and work authorization. The myE-Verify system includes three features: "Self Check," "Self Lock," and "myResources."
Self Check, as previously reported by Littler (E-Verify Self Check Now Available Nationwide), allows individuals to confirm their eligibility to work in the United States by entering the same information used by employers in performing E-Verify inquiries, taking the mystery out of the employment eligibility verification process and allowing workers to resolve records discrepancies before accepting a new job.
Self Lock is a newer feature and allows a registered myE-Verify user to put a lock on his or her Social Security Number (SSN). If the SSN is subsequently used in E-Verify to obtain employment authorization, it will result in a "Self Lock Mismatch" unless the employee first unlocks the SSN through myE-Verify. Self Lock, as described by USCIS, is designed "to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent use within E-Verify" by empowering users to "proactively protect their identities from being used by others to illegally gain employment." The third feature of myE-Verify – myResources – includes information on employer responsibilities and employee rights under E-Verify.
USCIS will initially offer myE-Verify accounts to individuals in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia. USCIS anticipates eventually rolling out myE-Verify nationwide.
Currently, myE-Verify is a voluntary program. Unless USCIS issues guidance to the contrary, employers should refrain from requiring employees to participate in myE-Verify or produce proof of being cleared by the program.