President Bush signed an Executive Order that requires Federal contractors to use the E-Verify System, to verify the employment eligibility of their workers as defined in the Executive Order.
More specifically, the President’s Executive Order requires executive departments and Federal agencies to contractually mandate that contractors and subcontractors use an electronic employment eligibility verification system, as designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Currently, E-Verify is the designated verification system. Under the Executive Order, Federal contractors and subcontractors must use E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of:
(i) all persons hired during the contract term by the contractor to perform employment duties within the United States; and
(ii) all persons assigned by the contractor to perform work within the United States on the Federal contract
Ordinarily, private-sector employers may use the E-Verify System only to verify newly-hired employees; but, the President’s Executive Order requires Federal contractors and subcontractors to verify all employees they assign to work on Federal contracts within the United States, as does the Federal government.
President Bush’s Executive Order amends Executive Order 12989 signed by President Clinton in 1996, which required Federal contractors to comply with certain provisions in the Immigration and Naturalization Act. The Secretary of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney General are to administrate and enforce amended Executive Order 12989.
Update: The final rule requiring Federal contractors to use E-Verify was published in the Federal Register on November 14, 2008. The final rule was scheduled to become effective on January 15th, 2009; but, the federal government has postponed the effective date four times. The new effective date is September 8, 2009 at the earliest.
About the E-Verify System
E-Verify is short for Employment Eligibility Verification Program. It’s an Internet-based computer application operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The E-Verify System permits private- and public-sector employers to verify the work-authorization status of newly-hired employees, to avoid violating immigration laws. Although using the System was initially voluntary for most employers, Federal and state governments are increasingly making it mandatory by law.
For more information, refer to Frequently Asked Questions: Federal Contractors and E-Verify. Consult an attorney for legal advice.