Posts Tagged ‘E-Verify’

A Final Answer on E-Verify? Can it be?

We’ve monitored the federal government’s potential E-Verify requirement for nearly a year now.   After a number of delays starting in 2008 and continuing until this summer, the E-Verify requirement was finally given the green light in July 2009.

While backed by the new President and slated to take effect on September 8, 2009, there seemed to be just one more hurdle:   The litigation challenging it.

Today, AGC’s Smart Brief reports that a federal district court has ruled on the legality of the controversial E-Verify requirement, holding that the requirement is legal.

On September 8th, therefore, systems are a-go for the E-Verify requirement.

Posted in:     Federal, Labor Law, Regulations  /  Tags: ,   /   2 Comments

E-Verify Required Starting September 9, 2009. Is it Really Going to Happen?

E-Verify, a government web-based system that helps employers verify a workers legal status, has been in the news before.

Originally a George W Bush executive order, E-Verify was slated to become mandatory for federal contractors beginning January 15, 2009.   The change in executive administrations and a handful of lawsuits, however, pushed the requirement back indefinitely.

This week, the Obama administration chimed in on the subject, and announced that it would support the E-Verify requirement, and that it would take effect across the country starting September 8, 2009.   Appropriately, the day after Labor Day.

Any federal projects or businesses receiving money under the federal stimulus program will be subject to the rule, and required to register and use the E-Verify system.

Differences Between Obama E-Verify and Bush E-Verify

When comparing the Obama E-Verify requirement and the Bush E-Verify requirement, one difference stands out:   Obama has ditched the “No-Match” system.

As a result, for better or worse, the requirement going into effect this September will have substantially less teeth.

Ditching the “No-Match” component of the E-Verify requirement will benefit employers because they will not be required to terminate (on such a tight time-line) employees whose social security numbers do not match with the system.

It will benefit workers, too, because Obama will not allow the federal government to use mismatched SSN data to find illegal immigrants in the workplace.

Is It Really Going To Happen This Time?

The short answer:  Yes.

While it has been delayed repeatedly in the past year, and there’s always a possibility for more delay, it looks like the latest effective date will stick.

The Obama administration has reviewed the requirement, and is now standing behind it, and by ditching the most controversial aspects of the rule, there will be fewer legal and political challenges.

Beginning September 8, 2009, therefore, the government will award contracts only to companies in compliance.

Who Needs to Be Prepared?

A lot of people need to be prepared for this E-Verify requirement.

While the controversial components of the requirement have been removed by Obama, the scope of the rules applicability has actually gotten broader.   The requirement will not only apply to contractors and subcontractors on federal projects, but it will also apply to any business receiving money under the federal stimulus project.

With the influx in federal and state spending on construction projects, and the decrease in private work available, more and more contractors are being forced into bidding and working on public works.  And with the now wider reach of the E-Verify program, contractors and subcontractors need to prepare themselves.

In February 2009, we wrote a post here at the Construction Law Monitor titled “The Stimulus Package and Your Construction Business.”

The post discussed the differences between private and public works, and addressed some of the issues private contractors face when working on its first public project.

Add the new E-Verify requirement to the list, and the article is still a good read.

Is this Still Controversial?

Even with Obama’s backing of the system and some tweaks to its enforcement power, the E-Verify program definitely still has its detractors.

The San Bernardino Sun News just ran an article about how the E-Verify system puts Obama at odds with some democrats.

Despite the controversy, the E-Verify requirement will take effect on September 8th, and construction companies around the country must be prepared.

Posted in:     Federal, Labor Law  /  Tags: , ,   /   1 Comment

E-Verify Not Required, but Still in the News

The federal E-Verify program has been a hot immigration topic throughout the past year.  

The internet-based hiring tool operated by the SSA and Department of Homeland Security simply allows employers to verify the SSN used by employees.  For the time being, the e-verify program is used by employers on a voluntary basis, but its use has been the subject of much legislative contention.

An executive order signed by President Bush was going to make use of the E-Verify program mandatory by federal contractors…but legal challenges to the program put that order’s effective date on hold.   The rule seemed to be scheduled to take effect until President Obama’s inauguration put it on further hold.

The Construction Law Monitor reported on the program’s ups and downs here.

While the program is on an indefinite hold, it’s certainly not out of the news.

This past weekend, the Seattle Times reported that Puget Sound employers are voluntarily using E-Verify to check the legality of its employers.   Running a search on Twitter, a popular microblogging platform, shows that conversations about E-Verify are not lacking.

Contractors should be especially interested in the E-Verify controversy.   

On the one hand, if the program does become mandatory, the construction industry will certainly be one of the most scrutinized by regulators.

On the other hand, since the construction industry is at the center of the immigration debate, contractors can protect themselves by being careful with who they hire, and voluntarily using the E-Verify program.

Posted in:     Federal, Labor Law  /  Tags: ,   /   Leave a comment

E-Verify Requirement Delayed for Federal Contractors

Last week, we reported that the new federal E-Verify was being challenged in court.

In a news release, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they are "delaying implementation from the original Jan. 15 starting date to Feb. 20 as a result of negotiations associated with a lawsuit filed by the chamber and other business groups"

The Federal Construction Contracting Blog recently stated that opponents of the new rule hope that the delay will allow the Obama administration ample time to evaluate the impact it could have on the world of government contracting.

Since the new rule is the result of an executive order from President Bush, President-elect Obama could make significant changes to the proposed requirements.

If you are a contractor that does federal work, stay tuned to the Construction Law Monitor for more information about the status of this suit, and the status of the E-Verify requirements.

Posted in:     Federal, Labor Law  /  Tags: ,   /   Leave a comment

Big Brother Increasing Immigration Pressure on Contractors

At the end of 2007, the regulatory buzz around the construction industry regarded the controversial "No-Match" letters imposing steep fiscal penalties for employers who knowingly employed illegal workers. As reported on our blog back then, the controversy led to litigation, which led to delay, which eventually led to the entire controversy pretty much blowing over.

Except that it’s back.

As per an executive order by President Bush, starting January 14, 2009, most federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to use an E-Verify system to confirm the resident status of its employees.

The Midwest Construction Law Blog has posted a blog post with a great summary on the E-Verify history, controversy and requirements. Read it here. That post also discusses a recent lawsuit filed by the Society for Human Resource Management to prevent its enforcement.

And so here we are again – more controversial regulations aimed at construction businesses, and more uncertainty for contractors as to whether the requirements are indeed required.

On what basis is the executive order being challenged? Here is a quote from the Midwest Construction Law Blog post:

E-Verify was designed to allow U.S. employers to use a federal government database to confirm the work eligibility of applicants for jobs. Critics point out that the system has a high error rate. And some have challenged the Bush administration’s authority to mandate E-Verify for contractors.

"The E-Verify system is far from ready to be mandated on employers. Plus, the authority to mandate it lies with Congress, not a federal agency," commented Michael Aitken, SHRM’s director of government affairs, after the suit was filed on Dec. 23, 2008. "SHRM believes the administration is overreaching its authority by mandating an employment verification program designed by statute to be voluntary."

If you are a contractor that does federal work, stay tuned to the Construction Law Monitor for more information about the status of this suit, and the status of the E-Verify requirements.

Posted in:     Federal, Labor Law  /  Tags: ,   /   Leave a comment