On September 28, 2012, President Obama signed into law a bill that reauthorizes the E-Verify program for three years.
The legislation extends use of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Internet-based E-Verify system, which confirms an employee’s employment eligibility by comparing information included on the employee’s Form I-9 and Social Security Administration and DHS records. Set to expire on September 30, 2012, the program will now continue until at least 2015.
The program, launched in 1997 and originally known as the Basic Pilot Program, was designed to facilitate compliance with federal restrictions on the employment of unauthorized aliens. Initially voluntary, participation has since become mandatory for all federal contractors and for those contracting with several states.
Further, since last year’s Supreme Court decision in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, states have had unquestioned authority to require private employers operating within their borders to use the program. So far, 19 states have enacted legislation requiring at least some employers to do so. Therefore, employers should review the law in their jurisdiction to ensure that they are compliant with any state statutes related to their use of the E-Verify system.