Obama Administration Reluctantly Adopts Rule Requiring Federal Contractors to Use E-Verify
(March 30, 2012 — Washington, D.C.) - Late yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would move forward on a Bush-era regulation requiring all federal contractors to use E-Verify. This announcement is welcome news, but it also represents a last minute attempt by the Obama administration to fend off a proposal to impose more stringent standards that the Senate was considering on the same day, says the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
After repeated delays, DHS finally agreed to implement a Bush-era regulation to ensure that all federal contractors, who are paid with taxpayer dollars, hire only workers who are legally authorized to work in the United States. The DHS announcement came the same day the Senate adopted an amendment that would statutorily impose the same mandate. The Senate approved an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill offered by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that not only requires all federal contractors to use E-Verify, but also permanently reauthorizes the vital program. E-Verify is the program that allows employers to quickly verify that new employees are legally able to work in the U.S.
The administration’s reluctant acceptance of a fait accompli on E-Verify was underscored by its simultaneous decision to abandon the “No-Match” rule, which would have protected American workers. The No-Match rule requires employers who are notified by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that workers’ Social Security numbers do not match data in SSA’s database to take action to correct those discrepancies in order to ensure their workforce is legal. By rescinding the No-Match rule, the administration is making it easier for employers to retain illegal workers. Rescinding the No-Match rule will help illegal aliens keep the jobs they currently hold, despite the fact their employment violates U.S. law, instead of freeing those jobs for legal American workers.
“We commend Senator Sessions for his leadership and his determination to protect the interests of American workers. Today’s events demonstrate that this administration will only enforce laws against illegal aliens in the workplace when faced with public opposition and forceful congressional leadership,” said Dan Stein, president of FAIR.
“Unfortunately, while implementing protections for American workers in the public sector, the administration has simultaneously removed job protections for private sector workers by rescinding the No-Match rule. An administration truly committed to holding employers accountable would do more to protect the jobs and wages of American workers,” Stein said.
In light of today’s DHS announcement and Senate action, FAIR is calling upon both the administration and Congress to act immediately to reauthorize E-Verify. Unless the program is reauthorized it will expire on September 30. “Having accepted that E-Verify is a vital program that protects American jobs and discourages illegal immigration, it is time for the president and congressional leaders to ensure that the program remains in place for the long-term and expanded to include all employers in the U.S.,” Stein concluded.