Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jeff Schwilk, San Diego Immigration Policy Examiner
Posted: 05/20/2011 12:59 PM

Updated: May 24, 2011

Costco Wholesale , the nation’s largest warehouse retailer, has adopted the use of E-Verify to check all their new employees. The multi-billion dollar global chain has been using the free government online verification system nationwide since March 2010.

Costco posts the official E-Verify poster (left) inside all their stores near the Member Services counter to warn any illegal aliens thinking of applying for a job there that will be rejected. They also clearly announce their nationwide participation in E-Verify on the employment page on their website.

Costco has 10 stores in San Diego County, 118 total in California, and 424 stores nationwide. Costco is a major employer in the U.S. with over 110,000 employees.

Sam’s Club, the nation’s second largest big box store, does not use E-Verify in their hiring practices. Sam’s Club is owned by Walmart and has 33 stores in California.

After Arizona passed their mandatory E-Verify law several years ago, which requires all employers in that state to check their new employees through the Homeland Security database, Costco decided to be pro-active and adopt the system at all their stores and offices nationwide.

If and when Congress passes a bill to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers in the U.S., forward-looking companies like Costco will already be in compliance. At least one federal bill mandating E-Verify has been introduced this year, plus numerous states have bills and laws in various stages of approval.

According to Shawna Wilson at Costco's Corporate Headquarters near Seattle, the system has been running smoothly for 14 months with no problems or complaints. “Costco is proud to be a major corporate participant in the E-Verify program and help put American workers back to work”, she said.

Ms. Wilson said Costco is also considering signing up for the free government "IMAGE" Program – ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers – which actually performs a full audit of all employees to ensure none of them are working fraudulently and that the employer is in full compliance with U.S. employment laws. The IMAGE Program also gives businesses more management tools to utilize “best hiring practices” through training and direct assistance.

Each of us has the choice everyday to support law-abiding American retailers with our purchasing dollars. Companies either support American workers and the rule of law in their hiring practices, or they don’t. Shop wisely.