Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A federal analyst says that the current Basic Pilot Program for employee verification can handle the increase in immigration status checks due to Arizona's new law that would require businesses to check the legality of their hires through the Basic Pilot Program. And the "grand bargain" may be one reason why the federal system can handle this increase:
Michael Mayhew, who works for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, acknowledged the system, which verifies whether someone can legally work in this country, handled nearly 2 million inquiries last fiscal year from more than 19,000 companies. By contrast, there are an estimated 130,000 firms in Arizona that will be required to use the federal database beginning next year.

But Mayhew, who demonstrated the program Monday to business lobbyists — part of an effort by House Speaker Jim Weiers to defuse opposition to the new employer sanctions law — said that should not be a problem.

“We have been planning for the past six months for the federal legislation to pass,” he said, referring to the now-failed Senate immigration proposal.

That included a provision for all 7 million companies nationwide to use the system. And he figured they would make up to 75 million queries a year.

“So the idea of 130,000 employers in Arizona signing up is something the system can handle,” Mayhew said.
Mayhew says the error rate for this system is very low.