Rule Requiring Contractors to Use E-Verify Suspended Again, Until May 21
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the federal government agreed to its request to postpone implementation until May 21, 2009, of a new rule requiring federal contractors to use E-Verify. “The federal government agreed that the new administration needs time to re-think mandatory E-Verify use, particularly in light of the stressed economy,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the Chamber’s public policy law firm. “We are hopeful that the incoming administration will agree that E-Verify is the wrong solution at the wrong time.”
Randy Johnson, vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber, said, “The new administration’s interest in reviewing the rule is a promising development, but it doesn’t change the fact that the executive branch may not make E-Verify use mandatory when Congress clearly said that it must be voluntary. We’re cautiously optimistic that the incoming administration will make the right choice, but if not it will be up to the court to settle the issue.”
This was the second recent postponement. The American Council on International Personnel (ACIP) reported that an agreement previously was reached with the Department of Homeland Security to suspend implementation of the rule until February 20, 2009. It had been slated to take effect on January 15, 2009.
USCIS also announced that more than 100,000 employers have signed up to participate in E-Verify, an online system employers use to verify the work authorization of newly hired employees. USCIS said that employers have run more than two million queries through the system since October 2008.
Meanwhile, the new stimulus package bill approved by the House of Representatives on January 28, 2009, includes provisions that would mandate the use of E-Verify by federal contractors receiving stimulus funds. The bill states that “[n]one of the funds made available in this Act may be used to enter into a contract with an entity that does not participate in the E-verify program.” The Senate is expected to act on the economic stimulus bill this week. It remains to see whether this E-Verify provision will remain in the final bill.