E-Verify deadline postponed again
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Apr 20, 2009
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.”
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.