Contractor Implementation of E-Verify Delayed Until June 30, 2009
April 21, 2009
Contractors get another reprieve from E-Verify rule
CongressDaily April 17, 2009
The Obama administration has again delayed implementing a rule requiring federal contractors to verify their employees are legally able to work in the country, according to a notice in Friday's Federal Register.
Under the rule that was first proposed under the Bush administration, contractors would have to verify the legal status of their workers using the E-Verify system, an Internet tool that checks Social Security and immigration databases.
The rule originally was to go into effect in February, but the Obama administration delayed it until May 21, and now until June 30.
According to the notice, the most recent delay is needed "in order to permit the new administration an adequate opportunity to review the rule." But House Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said the move "slights American workers."
In a statement, Smith said: "Delaying implementation of this rule again insults citizen and legal immigrant workers. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that individuals working for or contracting with the federal government employ legal U.S. workers, not illegal foreign workers."
February 2, 2009
Nextgov - Technology and the Business of Government
E-Verify contractor rule delayed again
By Gautham Nagesh 01/30/09
The Obama administration has postponed until May a rule that would require federal contractors to check if newly hired employees are not undocumented immigrants.
The announcement comes at a time when lawmakers are pressing for requirements for companies receiving funds through the economic stimulus bill to check the citizenship of workers they hire. The House passed its stimulus bill on Wednesday.
A notice in the Friday-edition of the Federal Register announced that the rule, which would require government contractors to use the Homeland Security Department's E-Verify system to check the immigration status of all employees on projects exceeding $100,000 and on subcontracts that exceed $3,000, will not take effect until May 21. The rule originally was scheduled to become effective on Jan. 15, but five business interest groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed suit to delay implementation until Feb. 20.
"The federal government agreed that the new administration needs time to rethink mandatory E-Verify use, particularly in light of the stressed economy," said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center at the Chamber of Commerce. "We are hopeful that the incoming administration will agree that E-Verify is the wrong solution at the wrong time."
The Chamber did not respond to a request for an interview.
New Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, however, told The Washington Post she believes in E-Verify and the delay will be used to determine if the system is capable of handling the surge in workload that would result from the new rule.
The delay would give the Obama administration an opportunity to review the rule before it's widely applied to the private sector, said a spokesman with the Citizenship and Immigration Service, which manages E-Verify. The administration asked all agencies to put a hold on pending regulations until they can be reviewed. The spokesman also said the E-Verify system, which processed almost 6 million queries in fiscal 2008, has been tested to handle at least 10 times that amount.
"It would take resources, but the system could handle it," the spokesman said. "[E-Verify] could handle at least 65 million queries a year."
Agencies have been required to use E-Verify to check employees' immigration status since August 2007. The new rule that makes the program mandatory for contractors was proposed in an executive order signed by President Bush last June.
In addition to the contractor requirement, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been pressing in recent weeks to require companies receiving funds from the economic stimulus package to use E-Verify to ensure employees hired are eligible to work in the United States.
Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who introduced the amendment to make E-Verify mandatory for all jobs created by the stimulus bill, said he was disappointed by the delay for the contractor rule and he hoped the E-Verify requirement will remain in the final version of the stimulus package.
"It seems that we're going to keep fiddling with immigration reform rather than really try to do something that we know will help," Kingston said in an interview with Nextgov. "With the collapse of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the best way to deal with it is incrementally. E-Verify is that way."
Kingston said he was "not overwhelmingly confident" that his amendment, which passed the House, would remain in the Senate version of the bill.
"I think DHS and the new administration are signaling that they are not real comfortable with this and not willing to give it a try," he said. "I'm hopeful, but I've been working this for many years and wouldn't be surprised if it gets cut."
Kingston's amendment has support on the Senate side from Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb. The two officials sent a letter to Senate leadership yesterday expressing their support for Kingston's amendment.
"American taxpayers are going to pay for every penny of this massive stimulus bill if Congress approves it," Sessions wrote. "The purpose of the package is to create new jobs for Americans. One common-sense way to ensure that lawful citizens benefit from the proposal is to require businesses to check a job applicant's legal status using the E-Verify system."
Controversy has dogged the E-Verify program, as critics, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have argued that the system will be costly for companies and the results unreliable. An inspector general report released last year found the system's error rate to be above 4 percent, although DHS officials said the system is now 99.5 percent reliable.
Last fall, Congress passed a short-term extension of the program's authorization after Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., blocked a bill to reauthorize the program for five years. Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif.., who authored the original legislation creating E-Verify, attached an amendment last week to the stimulus package that would reauthorize the program for four years. The amendment passed the House but must gain approval in the Senate, otherwise the program's authorization expires March 6.
Kingston said if his amendment doesn't pass, he still would be open to a limited implementation of the contractor requirement to test its effectiveness.
"Let's say the administration is sincere that there are real problems as opposed to political problems, and they want to do something," he said. "Let's not say all federal contractors, let's start with those working on military bases or limit it to a select amount of agencies or a select region and try it out. . . . If it's a disaster we would know, though I don't think it would be."
© 2009 BY NATIONAL JOURNAL GROUP, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
from Gov't Executive.com
...The government also has put the brakes on the E-Verify rule change, which was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 15.
Last month, five business interest groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed suit to block a Bush administration executive order that would require federal contractors with projects exceeding $100,000 -- and for subcontractors with projects exceeding $3,000 -- to use E-Verify to authorize new employees.
The litigants argued that the government does not have legal authority to force companies to use the program. Administration officials countered that using E-Verify is the price that contractors pay for receiving federal contracts.
The proposed rule would apply to all future contract employees and existing employees working on new contracts. Under current federal law, E-Verify use is voluntary.
Citing the court challenge, DHS announced last week that it would postpone the rule change until Feb. 20.
"The administration cannot use an executive order to circumvent Congress' intent that E-Verify be used only on a voluntary basis," said Randy Johnson, vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Although we hope to resolve the litigation in an expeditious manner, the postponement of the rule will help ensure that the court is not unduly rushed to weigh the serious legal questions in this case."
Chamber officials hoped that the delay would provide the new administration with an opportunity to reevaluate the policy.
The Civilian Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) issued a final rule on Employment Eligibility Verification (E-Verify, formerly known as the Basic Pilot Program), which amends the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require federal contractors and subcontractors to verify employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States.
All Contracts awarded after the rule’s effective date of January 15, 2009, requires federal contractors and subcontractors to use the E-Verify system for all new hires, as well as for existing personnel directly performing work on federal contracts. Existing “indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity” contracts will also be modified to incorporate the provisions of the rule.
If you require assistance with this new ruling, please contact one of the following companies.
Homeland Sercurity Verification, LLC
4001 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE 19807-2315
James H. Sills, III
Phone: (302) 594-0850
508 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE 19809-2178
Phone: (302) 477-1869
2644 Capitol Trail
Newark, DE 19711
Phone: (302) 369-2127
Pursers Office, Inc.
2 Springmeadow Lane
Hockessin, DE 19707
Rollyn C. Trueblood
Phone: (302) 235-2331