Feds Postpone E-Verify Deadline
Facing a lawsuit by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry groups, the government pushes back from Jan. 15 to Feb. 20 the original compliance date that federal contractors must begin using the controversial E-Verify program to check the immigration status of employees.Facing legal pressure from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other trade groups, the U.S. government has delayed by at least a month a federal mandate calling for federal contractors and subcontractors to use an Internet-based electronic verification system to confirm that prospective employees are legally eligible to work.
Known as E-Verify, the free program is jointly operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in partnership with the Social Security Administration. The original implementation date was set for Jan. 15, but after the Chamber of Commerce filed its lawsuit, the USCIS bumped the date to Feb. 20.
"There is still litigation against the rule, and the purpose of the delay is to give them a chance to argue their case," a USCIS spokesman told eWEEK.
The Chamber's lawsuit challenges the government's use of a presidential executive order coupled with a federal procurement law to make E-Verify mandatory for federal contractors with projects exceeding $100,000 and for subcontractors with projects exceeding $3,000. The Chamber also challenged expanding E-Verify to require the reauthorization of existing workers.
Joining the Chamber in the lawsuit are the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Society for Human Resources Management, the American Council on International Personnel and the HR Policy Association.
"This massive expansion of E-Verify is not only bad policy, it's unlawful," Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, said in a statement. "The administration can't use an executive order to circumvent federal immigration and procurement laws. Federal law explicitly prohibits the secretary of Homeland Security from making E-Verify mandatory or from using it to reauthorize the existing work force."
The executive order requires companies to electronically verify all new hires and employees assigned to prime contracts of at least $100,000 and 120 days and subcontracts of $3,000.