Over the past year, USCIS has launched two Web-based validation
instruments — E-Verify Self Check and VIBE — in
an attempt to improve efficiency and safeguard immigration
benefits. While Self Check is intended for individuals and VIBE for
petitioning employers, together the programs reveal a trend toward
harnessing voluntary Web-based tools to promote immigration
E-Verify Self Check
USCIS recently announced that E-Verify Self Check is now
available in both English and Spanish throughout the entire county,
including all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the
territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the
Northern Mariana Islands.
E-Verify is an Internet-based government system that requires
participating employers to enter the employee data from Form I-9 to
be confirmed against the Department of Homeland Security and Social
Security Administration records. Until recently, before the
introduction of Self Check, E-Verify was only accessible to
participating employers as part of the I-9 process.
Self Check allows individuals to check their own eligibility to
work under the E-Verify system, affording job applicants a
"sneak peak" into the government's data. When using
Self Check, job applicants enter the same required identity and
work authorization information an employer provides when confirming
a new hire through E-Verify, and thus Self Check gives individuals
the opportunity to check their own status before making a job
application. If there is any type of mismatch with the information
from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security
Administration, Self Check also provides instructions on how
individuals may correct their records. It is important to note that
Self Check is a voluntary system and employers cannot require
employees or applicants to use the program or report their
Self Check was originally rolled out on a limited basis in March
2011 for residents of 5 states and the District of Columbia. The
program was broadened in August 2011 and, with the most recent
announcement, Self Check is now available throughout the country.
Since its initial launch, approximately 67,000 people have used the
Self Check program and USCIS expects these numbers to grow. In
addition, the Obama administration has lent its support to E-Verify
and the Self Check program by granting a 9.3 percent increase to
the E-Verify budget for fiscal year 2013.
On February 15th, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas testified
before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on
Immigration Policy and Enforcement and listed VIBE, which was first
introduced at the beginning of 2011, as one of the agency's
significant achievements in enhancing fraud detection.
VIBE (Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises) is a
Web-based tool that uses commercially available information from an
independent information provider — currently Dun &
Bradstreet (D&B) — to validate the business
operations of companies and organizations petitioning for
authorization to employ foreign workers. While employers are not
required to register with D&B, USCIS may issue a Request for
Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) if petitioner
information does not match the information in the VIBE system.
VIBE has been critiqued by many in the business immigration
community, as many legitimate and well-established employers have
been subject to burdensome RFEs questioning their existence and
corporate relationships simply because the employer chose not to
list or update its information in D&B. (Of course, some
businesses may want to have their information registered with
D&B for unrelated business reasons. However, there is no
immigration-related requirement that businesses do so.)
Additionally, when employers attempt to correct their information
by contacting D&B through the company's Web site, they find
themselves targets of offers for commercial services and products
Perhaps in response to these criticisms, in December 2011
D&B launched a new streamlined process called iUpdate for U.S.
government customers. iUpdate allows petitioning employers an
opportunity to view and update the information in the VIBE system
at no cost. In addition, D&B has specifically agreed to not
subject iUpdate users to its standard marketing tactics.
Regardless of whether they utilize iUpdate, petitioners should
expect to continue to have to contend with VIBE, as it seems clear
that the VIBE system will remain a part of USCIS's adjudicatory
On March 8, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, bearing an edition date of March 8, 2013, for immediate use by employers.
A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators has introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, an 844-page bill that aims to bolster border security and seeks to provide some of the nation's 11 million undocumented people with a path to citizenship.