The Basic Pilot Work Verification system, and why it doesn't work

Questions and Answers
By Hal Netkin

Q. What is the Basic Pilot program?
A. The Basic Pilot program for employers is a part of the SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) program. The Basic Pilot is an Internet online program that allows employers to verify the name and social security number of new employees. For the government's description, Click here.

Q. Is the Basic Pilot flawed?
A. The database itself is not flawed, but the government's rules of applying the program appear to be (intentionally) flawed.

Q. How would know that the Basic Pilot program is flawed?
A. Hal Netkin, the president of joined the program to test it out.

Q. What are the shortcomings of the program?
A. Listed below are some excerpts taken from the 103 page Basic Pilot Manual. (If you have the time and wish to read the Basic Pilot Manual, Click Here [allow several minutes for download]).

* Since the program is strictly voluntary and NOT mandatory, one has to conclude that congress is intentionally leaving a loophole in the system.

* As can be concluded from the program's complicated and elaborate manual, small and medium size businesses do not have the resources and manpower necessary to administer the program.

* The employee must be newly hired before the employer initiates a verification query. In other words, the employer cannot use the system to pre-screen applicants for employment -- it must HIRE the employee FIRST before doing the verification.

* Employers may not go back and check employees hired before the company entered to participate in the Basic Pilot program. In other words, any company who enters to participate in the program, may not verify the work authorization of existing employees -- only new hires.

* Employers must make verification inquiries within 3 business days of hire. In other words, if the person at a company who is responsible for administering the Basic Pilot program is ill for three days and unable to verify the employment authorization of an alien who was hired three days before, that alien gets a free pass.

* Employers may NOT use the system to re-verify employment authorization. In other words, if the employer suspects that an alien mistakenly received work authorization when first hired, the employer may NOT check the work authorization of that alien again.

Q. I understand that is a small PAC (Political Action Committee) with no employees. How did test the Basic Pilot without hiring an employee?
A. Since already has an EIN (Employer Identification Number), Hal Netkin was able to hire himself as treasurer. To test the system, Hal entered his correct SS number and correct date of birth, but used a fictitious name. The message returned by Homeland Security said that the employee was NOT authorized to work. The case was resolved by reporting to DHS that the "fictitious" employee terminated himself.

The authorization was tried again, but this time with the correct name. The message returned said that Hal Netkin was authorized to work.

Q. Doesn't the Basic Pilot verification match the birth date of the applicant as well as their name and social security number?
A. No, incredibly it does not. One of the tests in hiring myself, was to put my real name and real social security number into the verification data, but I entered a birth date other than mine. The return message was "Employment Authorized." In other words, even though the Basic Pilot asks for date of birth, the job applicant need only enter a stolen matching name and SSN to fool the system, but can use any date of birth.

Q. Apart from the mentioned shortcomings, what's the chief problem with the Basic Pilot program?
A. The Basic Pilot does not indicate whether the same name and social security number are being used by more than one person.

Q. What's so difficult about implementing multi social security number detection in the Basic Pilot program?
A. There is nothing difficult about detecting multi-users of the same SS number. Banks and credit reporting institutions do it all the time.

Q. What must the employer do if a new hire is found to be UN-authorized to work?
A. The employer cannot do anything but ask the employee to either fix the problem with the SS agency or quit. In other words, there are no consequences to the employee for using fraudulent documents to attempt to get a job. The employee is free to try his luck with another company.

In those cases where an employee was flagged as unauthorized, the employer must allow the employee eight government business days to straight out the "error" with the applicable agency. If the applicant cannot prove that errors were made, the employer must terminate the employee or the employee may self terminate. In either case, the employer must notify Homeland Security of the termination by E-filing a "Resolution."

Employers may NOT report workers suspected of being illegal immigrants to Homeland Security. This allows illegal immigrant workers who are hired off the street with fraudulent documents to be able to work and be paid for up to eight workdays (eleven if the employer waited three days before doing the verification) before being fired. In other words, when an applicant (illegal alien) is flagged with "no authorization" the employee must be allowed to work for eight or eleven days before being fired. That is more time than some contractors need of employees. The eight or eleven day "straighten out" period would allow some illegal workers such as those hired off the street by building contractors to stay nearly steadily employed by job hopping.