MALDEF

Victims of E-Verify Errors

From the Christian Science Monitor (July 7, 2008):

Two hours after Fernando Tinoco started his new job at a meatpacking plant in Chicago, he was escorted by security guards to the office and fired.

The reason: Company officials had entered his Social Security number into the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify system. It's a mostly voluntary program designed to give employers a fast, easy way to check a person's immigration status. Mr. Tinoco's information came back as a "tentative non-confirmation," meaning that he may not be a citizen. He was shown the door.

But Tinoco is a citizen and has been since 1989. Immediately after his firing a few months ago, he went to a Social Security office and got a letter confirming his legal status. It was too late.

"I went back and the security guard chased me away, told me not to come back to the company because I was fired," he says in a phone interview.

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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund