On April 30, 2013, the bipartisan group of senators who recently introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill submitted an updated version of the landmark legislation in response to concerns about the status of E-Verify in states that already require its use. The proposed Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, which the U.S. Senate is expected to begin voting on this week, would make E-Verify, the federal government's Web-based employment eligibility verification system, mandatory for all employers in the United States. At present, the use of E-Verify is only required for certain entities, including the federal government, employers whose federal contracts contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause, and select states and localities.
The updated bill would maintain E-Verify in its current form in order to enable states that currently mandate its use to continue doing so while the rest of the country prepares to follow suit. Specifically, the revised proposal calls on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary “to continue to operate the E-Verify Program…as in effect the minute before the date of the enactment of this Act, until the transition" to the new employment verification system contemplated by the bill. According to critics of the new legislation, the statute as originally drafted would repeal the current E-Verify scheme and wait a number of years to implement a viable nationwide alternative. Under the revised version, which advocates contend only clarifies their original intentions, E-Verify will remain in effect until a new employment verification system is phased out nationwide if a comprehensive reform bill is enacted into law.