Immigration compliance: President orders federal contractors to use E-Verify

On June 6, President Bush signed an executive order that requires all federal contractors to use the government-run E-Verify system to confirm the work eligibility of their employees.

Contractors who fail to use E-Verify risk losing their government contracts. There are currently more than 200,000 contractors working for the U.S. government.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) developed the electronic employment verification system, called E-Verify, which confirms the work eligibility status over the Internet. The system compares information electronically from the Form I-9 with the Social Security Administration’s database of more than 425 million records and with the DHS immigration database of noncitizens.

After the order is published, which is expected within days, a 60-day comment period will go into effect. Following the comment period, the DHS will write a final rule. The executive order is part of a larger DHS effort to crackdown on illegal employment violations.

Critics of the Order report that large portions of the business community are reluctant to use E-Verify, claiming that it is an unreliable tool. The HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce, led by SHRM, criticizes E-Verify as “a system that doesn’t really work” and lacks the capacity to handle the 200,000 federal contractors now ordered to use it.

It is still unclear when the directive will go into full effect, so stay tuned to G.Neil’s HR Forum for continuing updates.

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