What is the Basic Pilot Program?
The Basic Pilot Program is a 100% free service and is part of a joint operation between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The system is part of the SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) system. SAVE is used to verify if aliens are eligible for government entitlement services. The Basic Pilot Program portion of SAVE is for employers to verify that a new worker is eligible and legal to work in the United States.
How does the Basic Pilot Program work?
Basic Pilot compares entered Social Security Numbers and names to verify that they match and are valid.
Is the Basic Pilot Program mandatory?
No, employers are not currently required to use the Basic Pilot Program and it is completely voluntary.
How do you access the Basic Pilot Program?
The Basic Pilot Program is accessible from an Internet connected computer running the Windows operating system. A web browser is also required, (Internet Explorer 5.5 or Netscape 4.7 or higher).
How do I register for the Basic Pilot Program?
To participate an employer must register for the Basic Pilot Program at https://www.vis-dhs.com/employerregistration. Participating employers must also sign a Memorandum of Understanding stating that you understand the requirements of you as an employer.
If I have questions about the Basic Pilot Program who do I contact?
You can contact those at the SAVE Program regarding the Basic Pilot Program by calling 1-888-464-4218
What are the main flaws in the Basic Pilot Program?
- The main flaw is that the system does not check if a Social Security Number is being used in more than one location. If someone is applying for a job in New York and another is in Arizona, that should put up a flag that something may be amiss. There are recent stories of the same Social Security Number being used at hundreds of locations throughout the United States and nothing is done.
- An employer must first hire the applicant before checking whether that employee is eligible to work.
- Employees already hired before the employer joins the Basic Pilot Program cannot be checked against the system.
- There is a three day window in which a newly hired employee must be verified, otherwise the employer cannot check them.
- The system is currently voluntary. Businesses that rely on low wage illegal aliens have no reason to participate and potentially open themselves to scrutiny that they can otherwise avoid.
- There is no way for employers to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that a new employee that fails the check is an illegal worker. The only thing an employer can do is confront the employee that there is an error in their worker verification and that it be fixed or request that the employee quit.
Does the Basic Pilot Program really stop illegal workers from being hired?
The final analysis of the Basic Pilot Program is that it is too flawed to actually stop illegal workers. A worker must be hired before verification can be checked and if found at fault there are no consequences for the employee, they can move on to a different job. The burden is placed all on the employer and not on the employee. After going through the process of finding a skilled worker through the interview process the employer then has to go through the overhead of hiring that individual and taking the loss if that employee turns out to be fraudulent or an ineligible worker.
In addition, the fact that the system does not stop the same Social Security Number and name from being used in multiple locations means that document fraudsters can continue to mass produce documents using the same information on all of them.
Why can't the Basic Pilot Program check if there are multiple people using the same name and SSN in different locations?
The main flaw in the system regarding multiple instances of the same SSN being used in multiple locations is that, under current law, information contained in the IRS database cannot be shared with any other federal agency unless it is subpoenaed.
This law does not allow the IRS to become a partner in the Basic Pilot Program allowing the system to check if multiple instances of tax filings from employers and employees using the same SSN have been found in different locations and addresses.
Why are illegal workers a bad thing?
Most illegal workers are illegal aliens and in the country illegally. No matter what your stance is on illegal immigration the fact that they are using fraudulent documents is a federal felony. Identity fraud is a growing problem and if a Social Security Number is being used by an illegal worker, when the employer files their information to the Internal Revenue Service the individual whose identity was stolen will be required to pay taxes on all of the income earned under their Social Security Number.
There have been cases where an individual has been the victim of hundreds of workers using their identity to obtain jobs and receiving a tax bill from the IRS at the end of the year of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unlike normal creditors where identity fraud destroys an individuals credit, when identity fraud occurs involving the IRS there are many other things at stake including the loss of property and imprisonment. The IRS has much more power when trying to obtain back taxes than a creditor does when trying to collect an owed debt.
Of course a victim of fraud involving a stolen identity and SSN will more than likely also face destroyed credit by not paying the IRS.
This takes years and much expense, as well as emotional distress, for the victim to correct the situation. All of this because a solid system isn't in place to verify legal workers.
For more information and an example from someone who has tried out the Basic Pilot Program see WatchdogAmerica