DHS to Focus on E-Verify for Worker Eligibility Checks

July 10, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Obama Administration would rescind the controversial and still not-implemented Social Security No-Match rule.

A DHS news release said the agency would instead focus on beefing up its E-Verify computer system as a way to confirm in a more timely manner that employers are making certain newly hired employees are legally in the U.S. and permitted to work.

The 2007 No-Match rule, which involved sending letters to employers that the new worker’s Social Security number did not match the government’s records, was widely criticized as being too slow and often inaccurate. Implementation was blocked by court order as a result of legal challenges to the rule.

Napolitano asserted that E-Verify is preferable because the system addresses data inaccuracies in a more timely manner and provides “a more robust tool” to help employers spot illegal aliens without government permission to work in the U.S. E-Verify, which compares information from the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) against federal government databases to verify workers’ employment eligibility, is operated by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

“E-Verify is a smart, simple and effective tool that reflects our continued commitment to working with employers to maintain a legal workforce,” said Napolitano, in the news release. “Requiring those who seek federal contracts to use this system will create a more reliable and legal workforce. The rule complements our Department’s continued efforts to strengthen immigration law enforcement and protect critical employment opportunities.”

Napolitano also announced the government was expanding use of the E-Verify system for federal contractors and subcontractors, effective September 8, 2009.

The current DHS position represents a turnaround from 2008 when the agency announced it would seek to have implementation of the No-Match Letter rules cleared by the courts (see DHS to Request Lift of Injunction on No-Match Letter Rules ).

The DHS announcement is available here .