On Thursday, February 9, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the Self Check program had expanded nationwide, including all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. Self Check is a cooperative partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Self Check is a free Internet service of E-Verify that allows any workers over the age of 16 to check their own employment eligibility status against the DHS and SSA databases.
While Self Check allows individual workers to check their employment eligibility, it also presents a trap for the unsuspecting or unknowing employer. It is unlawful for a current or potential employer to require an employee or a prospective employee to provide them with proof of a positive Self Check clearance. Employers should also not accept an employee's or prospective employee's Self Check documentation as evidence of employment eligibility to complete the Form I-9 process. Likewise, a mismatch between an individual's DHS and SSA records is not evidence that the individual is unauthorized to work in the U.S. Violations are investigated and prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. To avoid possible violations, employers are reminded to use the Form I-9 to obtain information establishing the identity and employment eligibility of employees.
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