Undocumented immigrant workers get around E-Verify mandates in several ways. The first is by taking advantage of E-Verify’s biggest weakness: It checks the identification papers, not the worker. Thus, an undocumented immigrant worker can pass an E-Verify check if he hands somebody else’s identification to his employer. According to an audit for the federal government conducted by Westat, about 54 percent of undocumented immigrant workers are approved to work by E-Verify for this very reason.

The workers sometimes steal IDs, but many also borrow them from friends or family members. The story of a young undocumented immigrant named “Manuel” explains how so-called identity loans work. Manuel needed identification to work in the unionized construction industry in San Francisco. He contacted an uncle in Mexico who had obtained a Social Security number in the early 1970s but then returned to Mexico permanently. The uncle let Manuel use his SSN and forge a new green card with his uncle’s name. Since there is no victim of this kind of fraud, identity loans are extremely difficult to stop.

But workers aren’t the only ones who have figured out how to fool E-Verify — many businesses are also adept at doing so. The easiest way is to just not use E-Verify.