The current Congressional authorization for the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification for employees expires on November 1, 2008. It seems very likely that Congress will either re-authorize the program or, if it misses the November deadline, will continue to fund E-Verify until a new re-authorizing legislation is passed. The E-Verify program is expected to continue after November 1.
The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a bill by a landslide vote of (407-2), re-authorizing E-Verify for another five years. The House bill does not make any substantive changes in the current program and keeps participation voluntary for U.S. employers. The action is now in the U.S. Senate, where Senators have introduced various immigration-related amendments as part of the E-Verify re-authorization.
A number of Senators have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging a clean vote on extending E-Verify rather than trying to change the program’s scope at this time, which — they fear — would delay re-authorization.
According to a press release from his Senate office, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) “noted that the comprehensive immigration reform bill Congress debated last year contained an even stronger version of E-Verify for employment verification and mandated all business use the system. However, Graham noted that even a watered-down version of electronic employment verification, like E-Verify, is better than none at all.”
This means that participation in E-Verify would remain largely voluntary for employers, even though Senator Graham’s home state of South Carolina has passed into law legislation mandating the use of E-Verify for state government contractors and private employers in coming years. Other states have also passed or are considering similar laws. The Bush Administration has proposed that all current and future Federal contractors would also be required to use E-Verify. The implementation of this Federal rule is being debated and may be challenged in court.
“Congress is running out of time to reauthorize and even enhance E-Verify,” wrote Graham. “The number of employers relying on the program to hire legal workers is likely to grow. Small businesses and companies that utilize it need to be able to know that Congress is not going to let this program die.”
“Both sides of the aisle would like to see reforms to the electronic employment verification program,” said Graham. “Ultimately, we would prefer to pass a bill requiring mandatory participation in the program. Since there is very little time left in this session, we urge you to support a straight reauthorization of E-Verify. Extending the program will keep employers accountable while giving them the tools needed to abide by the law in their hiring practices.”
The letter was also signed by Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), and Wayne Allard (R-Colorado).
Posted by Tracker I-9™ team.
Employers can request a free E-Verify and Form I-9 HR Toolkit from the Tracker I-9™ website.
Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.