South Carolina is one of 18 states that have passed laws requiring employers to use a federal government program called E-Verify. Essentially, E-Verify requires business owners to check the legal status of all potential employees using Social Security and immigration databases before making a new hire. The program is supposed to make it nearly impossible for illegal immigrants to find employment.
However, according to a report by CNNMoney, many small business owners see the program as adding a senseless hurtle to the hiring process and some are flat out not complying. For example, in Arizona -- the first state to impose E-Verify -- CNNMoney found that while there were 1.45 million people fired during fiscal year 2011, only 982,593 were checked with E-Verify.
Even business owners who strongly oppose illegal immigration are hesitant to comply with E-Verify, CNNMoney reported. In one such case, an Arizona woman said she and her husband don't use E-Verify when hiring people to work for their landscaping company, calling it "another hindrance" the government has imposed on small business owners.
Other groups oppose E-Verify as well. According to a libertarian think tank, E-Verify is not a perfect system and sometimes flags legal workers accidentally. In fact, more than 46,000 people were incorrectly flagged by E-Verify in 2011 and had to fight the results to gain employment, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Additionally, E-Verify is not always able to catch on to fraud, so employers could go through the hassle of using it and still end up hiring illegal immigrants.
At this point, the federal government has not mandated the use of E-Verify, but Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he supports E-Verify.
Source: CNNMoney, "Romney's immigration policy would add a hiring hurdle," Jose Pagliery, Oct. 23, 2012