A government program for checking the work-eligibility of immigrant workers is on the verge of elimination in spite of a dramatic increase in usage, according to a new study by the Center for Immigration Studies.

The Center for Immigration Studies, a non-partisan nonprofit that has a pro-immigrant and low-immigrant mission, studied the E-Verify program. Employers can use the program to determine the legality and work-eligibility of new hires. The group cited data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that found the use of the E-Verify program has gone up 442 percent since 2007.

By the third week of February, three million queries had been sent to the program, nearly half of the 6.6 million for all of 2008. There will be 17.7 million queries this year, according to the group