Saturday, June 6, 2009

E-Verify Basics and Yet Another Delay

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) have teamed up to offer employers E-Verify.  Basically, employers can go online (enrollment here) and compare information from their new employee's I-9 forms against a massive database to check their work status (immigration status).  DHS reports that so far over 87,000 employers have run over 6.5 million queries!

George Bush amended Executive Order 12989 on June 6, 2008 to require employers who receive federal contracts to electronically verify that they have a legal workforce.  This new mandate goes into effect on September 8, 2009... at least that's what the government is saying today.  The new push-back marks the fourth time the program has been delayed this year!  

The mandatory verification for federal contractors has proved controversial, instigating multiple law suits.  As The National Law Journal reported earlier this year:
It drew a lawsuit from the U.S Chamber of Commerce, which challenged the mandatory nature of the executive order and ensuing proposed regulations and the requirement to reverify existing workers -- something barred by the legislation, according to Lawrence Lorber of the Washington office of New York's Proskauer Rose, who represents the Chamber.

"The executive order was illegal and violates the statute," said Lorber.
That case is Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. Napolitano, No. 08-cv-3444AW (D. Md.). The latest news on the case (via National Law Journal) is that:
Department of Justice attorneys recently moved to stay the litigation, stating that more time is needed to review the rule. The judge signed the request on Tuesday.
Sounds like E-Verify is gonna be optional for a while. At least until September 8, 2009!