Last updated on: 1/21/2015 | Author:

Nicholas Woodfield, JD Biography

Principal and General Counsel at The Employment Law Group (Washington, DC)
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Government Allow a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?"

“Should E-Verify, the federal government’s electronic employment-verification system, be mandatory for all employers? No, because E-Verify causes havoc in the workplace…

In one year, before any national requirement, E-Verify unfairly gave employers a reason to fire almost 12,000 perfectly legitimate new hires.

And that’s just the collateral damage. E-Verify is much worse at its core task of flagging applicants who truly aren’t eligible to work. The last authoritative study showed that E-Verify flubbed this mission at least half the time, failing to identify anywhere from 37 percent to 64 percent of unauthorized workers.

If E-Verify were a commercial product, in short, no rational employer would pay to use it. It fails to identify illegal workers, and it turns away thousands of legal workers each year.

Even more insidious: the discrimination that lurks below E-Verify’s top-level statistics. The federal verification database works badly for everyone, but it works worst for ‘green card’ holders and other noncitizens who are eligible to work in the U.S.

For U.S. citizens, E-Verify mistakenly returned a TNC for 0.2 percent of queries, according to the latest study. That’s an improvement from past performances. But for green-card holders, this ‘false negative’ rate was 0.7 percent, and for other authorized noncitizens, the rate was a shocking 4.2 percent. And those rates are not falling…

Finally, we have the implications of turning employers into the nation’s immigration policemen, and of giving the federal government an effective veto on every hiring decision in the U.S. economy. Neither is advisable.”

“Flawed Validation Tool and Database Causes Workplace Havoc,” Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 1, 2014

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Principal and General Counsel, The Employment Law Group (Washington, DC), June 2003-present
  • President, Virginia Employment Lawyer’s Association
  • Virginia State Advisory Representative to the Judicial Nominations Committee, National Employment Lawyers Association
  • Partner, Hughes & Bentzen, PLLC (Washington, DC), May 2002-June 2003
  • Associate, Watson & Renner (Washington, DC), Dec. 2000-May 2002
  • Associate, Janecky, Newell, Potts, Wells & Wilson, PC, June 1996-June 1999
  • Law Clerk, Presiding Judge Wayne Thorn, State of Alabama, Jefferson County Courthouse, June 1995-June 1996
  • Counselor, Winona Camps, 1985-1989
  • Visiting Postgraduate Student in Law, University of Oxford, 1999
  • JD, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, 1995
  • BA, Washington and Lee University, 1990
  • Named one of Washingtonian magazine’s “Top Lawyers: Employment Plaintiffs” of 2013-2014
  • Admitted to practice law in Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, and DC; the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd and 4th Circuits and the DC Circuit; the US Supreme Court; and the US District Courts of DC, Northern District of Florida, District of Maryland, Eastern District of Virginia, and Western District of Virginia
Quoted in:
  1. Should E-Verify Be Mandatory for All Employers?