Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 9, 2009

Legal barrier to E-Verify removed (for now)

Filed under: Immigration — by Philip J. Palin on September 9, 2009

A web-based means for employers to verify the legal status of employees went into effect for government contractors on Tuesday, September 8.

According to Chris Strohm with NextGov, “After months of delay, the Homeland Security Department implemented a rule requiring most federal contractors and subcontractors to use its E-Verify system to prove employees working on government contracts are legally in the country.”

The rule has been the subject of an extended court challenge by business groups and civil liberties organizations.   The ACLU has argued, “The E-Verify system is based on the Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases, which have unacceptably high error rates involving U.S. citizens’ records. Discrepancies between workers’ Social Security numbers and Social Security Administration records can result from many innocent factors including clerical errors, name changes due to marriage or divorce or the common use of multiple surnames.”

In July the Migration Policy Institute released a report recommending several key improvements in the E-Verify program.

On Friday a federal district court dismissed an injunction plea, which triggered implementation of the rule. The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency provides details on E-Verify at the USCIS website.

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