U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially opened a new Verification Operations Center in Buffalo, N.Y., today. The Center employs about 135 people and is dedicated solely to USCIS’ verification mission.
The Center’s personnel will perform immigration status verification checks and conduct monitoring and compliance activities in support of USCIS’ E-Verify and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) programs. The facility is located in the Bank of America Building in downtown Buffalo.
“This is an important milestone in the continued growth of USCIS’ Verification Division,” said Michael Aytes, USCIS Acting Deputy Director. “In the last three years alone,” Aytes continued, “participation in the E-Verify and SAVE programs has increased dramatically, particularly in E-Verify with a five-fold increase. This Center plays a crucial role not only in the continued success of E-Verify and SAVE, but also in ensuring that the programs are used properly.”
Status Verification Operations staff at the Center will verify employee work authorization status for companies using E-Verify, and also process requests to confirm immigration status submitted by government agencies using SAVE. The Center also represents Verification Division’s first monitoring and compliance field office that will ensure the integrity of both programs by detecting and deterring improper use of the programs while protecting against related discriminatory practices and safeguarding privacy interests.
Currently, more than 170,000 participating employers at about 650,000 worksites nationwide currently use E-Verify to electronically verify their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. Since October 1, 2009, more than 1.6 million employment verification queries have been run through the system. About 97 percent of all queries are now automatically confirmed without any need for employee action.
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Reinhard von Hennigs