Friday, September 4, 2009

E-Verify: Tempest In A Teapot?

The ongoing litigation over Homeland Security rules requiring all contractors on federal government projects to submit existing employees as well as new hires to E-Verify may be just a tempest in a teapot if Congress does not reauthorize the E-Verify program, which is set to expire at the end of this month. Some argue that Homeland Security could continue requiring participation in the E-Verify program by rule, even without Congressional authorization, but since the program was initiated by an act of Congress, the prudent thing to do would be for both houses to pass bills reauthorizing the program. Surely President Obama would sign reauthorization legislation.

The House included E-Verify reauthorization in its 2010 DHS appropriations bill, but the Senate may not act on that package before the end of the month. The Senate, in a separate bill, permanently reauthorized the program, and included a requirement that all federal contractors and subcontractors participate. In order to assure continuation of E-Verify, a conference committee must reconcile these different measures so both houses can pass identical measures before the end of the month and get a bill to the Oval Office. If health care reform and climate change burn up the September agenda in either the House or the Senate, E-Verify may just become a lawyers' nightmare in the Department of Homeland Security.
blog comments powered by Disqus