Recently, I read with interest this study that examines the impact of the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) on employment outcomes of low-skilled legal workers. The Act requires Arizona employers to use the federal E-Verify database to determine whether a prospective employee is authorized to work. The Supreme Court upheld LAWA in 2011 in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting.
The results of the study suggest that contrary to its intent, LAWA does not appear to have improved job prospects for legal residents and citizens who compete with undocumented immigrants, the target of the legislation. In fact, the study finds some evidence of diminished employment and increased unemployment among legal low-skilled workers in Arizona, particularly non-Hispanic white men. While they are less likely to find employment, those who do have on average higher earnings, though. Ultimately, the study shows that some of the security-focused immigration reforms may not be as simple as mandating E-Verify or building bigger walls.
Annual E-Verify Deadline Approaching
Seeing the study reminded me that E-Verify users in Arizona and around the U.S. need to start getting ready to download and preserve all E-Verify data submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before January 1, 2016. Federal law requires the USCIS to dispose of E-Verify records that are 10 years old on each January 1st. Since employers’ I-9 recordkeeping requirements don’t magically expire after ten years for current employees, and because both DOJ’s Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices (OSC) and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) both routinely demand to review E-Verify records during audits and other compliance matters, employers should preserve these older records. To enable this, USCIS has created a new “Historic Records Report.” E-Verify enrollees with records created on or before December 31, 2005 should download this report between now and the end of the year. USCIS has created instructions on how to download, export, and save the report. Employers who use a third party electronic I-9 vendor should check with the vendor to see how to access this historic data.