E-Verify deadline postponed again

The Homeland Security Department has pushed back the deadline for implementing the final rule for contractors to use the E-Verify employment verification system for another six weeks. The new deadline is June 30.

It is the third time U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has delayed the controversial rule, which was originally supposed to go into effect Jan. 15, then Feb. 20 and then May 21.

“The extension provides the [Obama] administration an adequate opportunity to review the entire rule prior to its applicability to federal contractors and subcontractors,” the immigration agency said in a statement released April 16.

DHS and the Social Security Administration jointly run the E-Verify program, which allows employers to electronically submit Social Security numbers for new hires and existing employees. If there is a match, the employee is deemed eligible to work; if not, there are procedures for further assessments. The system has been controversial due to alleged high error rates in the databases used.

Under former President George W. Bush’s executive order, about 168,000 federal contractors were to begin using E-Verify in January. The order applies to federal contracts worth more than $100,000 and subcontracts of more than $3,000.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a lawsuit challenging the rule. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Co-plaintiffs are the Society for Human Resource Management, Associated Builders and Contractors, the HR Policy Association, and the American Council on International Personnel.

"We applaud the [Obama] administration's decision to take more time to re-evaluate its questionable policy mandating E-Verify use for federal contractors,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, in a statement released April 16. “We are hopeful that they will agree that E-Verify is the wrong solution at the wrong time.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Tue, Apr 21, 2009 darwin dallas

Is the problem that the data is so defective that businesses would find this step for their new hires as counter-productive, or would businesses prefer to not have any responsibility on their employee's identity.

Tue, Apr 21, 2009 R. Baron Arizona

I am skeptical of these claims of high error rates in the database. Nevertheless, the best way to get any errors corrected is to actually use the system. I would suggest a web interface where citizens could check the validity of their own data, and where illegal migrants could check whether they got good value for what they paid to get forged identity documentation. Perhaps what we really need is National-ID based on the latest assurance technology.

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