Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Push for E-Verify

The Bush administration had proposed a E-Verify requirement of all federal contractor to check immigrant status of workers. The Obama administration suspended it and had Homeland Security investigated it over the last months. Now E-Verify gets a green light and will go ahead as of September. All employers who receive federal contracts will have to submit the names of all employees for verification of status. These names will be matched to Social Security numbers and other documents. If the search indicates a worker is undocumented, he must be fired.

At the same time, Homeland Security dropped its no-match" requirement. If a worker's Social Security number did not match the agency's records -- usually a worker using a false number -- the employer was expected to fire him. But Social Security's records are replete with error. Immigrant advocates and business groups had challenged the program in federal court. Though the system had previously been been voluntary, it will now be mandatory for federal contractors and will include current employees as well as new hires. Some form of E-Verify is expected to be in any comprehensive immigration legislation. (See New York Times article.)

Senator Charles Schumer (D, NY), chair of the Senate immigration committee, promised a bill by Labor Day. The Arizona Republic reports, however, the issue of a guest worker program may foul up the timing.

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