President Bush Extends E-Verify Program & Pledges $100 Million Towards Its Continued Use

November 2008Alerts Immigration Practice Area Alert

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On September 30, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the appropriations legislation (H.R. 2638) for the U.S.Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2009. Section 143 of the “Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009” provides $100 million in funding for the E-Verify Program, the federal government’s electronic employment verification system. The Act also extends the Program through March 6, 2009.

E-Verify is an online database jointly administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) that enables participating employers to verify the work authorization of newly hired employees by checking the information employees provide on their Form I-9 against both DHS and SSA databases. The E-Verify Program, previously known as the “Basic Pilot Program,” originally was scheduled to expire on November 30, 2008.

Although E-Verify remains a largely voluntary program, several states now require its use for certain employers,1 and the Federal Government has also mandated its use for all federal contractors and certain sub-contractors (although final regulations are still required to effectuate the mandate).2

1) Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina have mandated its use in some form.
2) On June 6, President Bush signed an amendment to Executive Order 12989, requiring all federal contractors and certain sub-contractors to use the E-Verify system to verify the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees, as well as all existing employees assigned to work on federal contracts. The terms of the Executive Order will become effective when final regulations are issued, expected at the end of 2008.