Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced legislation (S. 3093) on June 5, 2008, reauthorizing the E-Verify program (formerly the called the Basic Pilot program), a web-based tool operated by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration that allows employers to verify the work eligibility of new employees. The program is slated to sunset (automatically expire unless renewed) in November 2008. Grassley's legislation would also make improvements to the program, including additional information sharing between agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.
"Nobody could have imagined the sophistication of the documents that illegal aliens use to work in the United States, which has made the E-Verify program an even more important and useful tool for employers," Grassley said. "With a comprehensive immigration bill highly unlikely this year, we need to enhance the tools that are already on the books and make sure they remain available for employers who want to do their part to comply with the law."
Grassley introduced amendments to the 2006 and 2007 comprehensive immigration bills that would have changed the verification and appeal procedures and would have improved the ability of the federal government to punish employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.
The Basic Pilot program was first authorized in 1996 and allowed only five states to participate. The program was reauthorized in 2001 and then expanded in 2003. The last expansion allowed employers in all 50 states the opportunity to voluntarily use the program. Currently, more than 64,000 employers participate in E-Verify with approximately 1,000 new enrollments weekly. More on E-Verify can be found at the following website.
Provisions of Grassley's legislation would;
make the E-Verify program permanent;
require all contractors of the federal government to use the E-verify program;
give employers the option to verify the status of all employees, not just new hires and allow the Department of Homeland Security to require companies to use the E-Verify program if a pattern of illegal hiring is found;
require USCIS to provide a monthly reports to Immigration and Customs Enforcement listing the non-authorized checks E-Verify finds that should be investigated;
require USCIS to create a pilot project that will provide opportunities for small businesses and other rural areas without internet access to use the E-Verify program;
require employers to re-verify employees who are in the United States on temporary status; and
formally change the name of the program from the Basic Pilot program to the E-Verify.
For more information on this and other topics, consult CCH Employment Practices Guide or CCH Labor Relations.
Visit our News Library to read more news stories.