House Bill Would Extend Use of Federal E-Verify Program

August 5, 2008 ( - The U.S. House of Representatives passed bill H.R. 6633 on July 31, 2008, that would extend the government's voluntary employment verification program for five more years.

CCH explained in its news report that E-Verify is the federal government’s voluntary Web-based program operated jointly by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) US Citizenship and Immigration Services bureau and the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees. The House bill would keep E-Verify a voluntary program; however, some states, including Arizona (See AZ Prosecutors to Delay Any Illegal Immigration Cases), Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Missouri have all mandated its use in some form.

In addition, as the accuracy of E-Verify has been questioned and some have said the use of the program is burdensome for some employers (See AFL-CIO Lawsuit: “No Match” Letter Rules Too Burdensome ), the bill requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the program’s erroneous tentative nonconfirmations (processes to remedy the errors and the impact the errors have on individuals, employers and federal agencies) and E-Verify’s impact on small businesses, CCH reported.

The Senate must also come to an agreement on companion legislation or the program will sunset in November 2008. Also, if Congress fails to reauthorize E-Verify, the state immigration laws mandating its use would be affected.

A copy of the House bill is here .