On July 8, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary announced that the Obama Administration intends to abandon the “no match” rule and instead promote use of E-Verify. The announcement proclaims the attributes of E-Verify and recent improvements to the system. However, the announcement does not mention the ongoing concerns with the accuracy of the databases used for employment verification, or whether E-Verify is a useful tool to combat identity fraud.
The announcement makes clear that the Obama Administration will support the federal contractor E-Verify regulation and continue efforts to improve the E-Verify system. This announcement is consistent with the Administration’s recent emphasis upon worksite enforcement and employment eligibility verification. The announcement suggests that the Administration has completed its review of the federal contractor E-Verify rule and apparently favors the implementation of the rule.
In late 2008, the Bush Administration published a regulation to require all federal contractors to enroll in E-Verify and use the system to verify existing employees working on federal projects. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups challenged the implementation of that rule. Currently, the parties in that litigation have agreed to postpone the effective date of the rule several times, and the rule is now scheduled to take effect on September 8.
While many employers may be relieved to hear that DHS enforcement on the heels of receipt of a “no match” letter from the Social Security Administration is not necessarily imminent, those same employers may resent being forced to enroll in E-Verify and being required to deal with expense and time commitments that E-Verify requires.