HR Initiative Claims New DHS E-Verify Mandate Contravenes Congressional Intent
Human Resource Experts Urge Withdrawal of Proposed Federal RuleMonday, August 11, 2008
Washington, D.C. – In comments submitted today to the General Services Administration, the Human Resource Initiative for a Legal Workforce coalition criticized the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation to require federal contractors and subcontractors to participate in E-Verify, the government’s controversial pilot employment verification system.
… Congress has specifically rejected attempts to require federal contractors to participate in E-Verify at least four times. These specific rejections – three times in the U.S. House of Representatives and once in the U.S. Seante – made it clear that Congress did not intend to mandate the use of E-Verify for federal contractors.
The Administration cannot get around the express intentions of Congress by tacking this requirement onto the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act. Federal courts have held that the Procurement Act cannot be used to advance goals that are in direct conflict with other federal laws. As noted above, the proposed regulation is in direct conflict with the statutory requirement that E-Verify be a voluntary pilot program to verify the employment eligibility of new hires. The mandatory nature of this regulation and the requirement to re-verify existing employees directly contravenes Congressional intent.
The HR Initiative also pointed out in its submission that the proposed rule imposes new liabilities on federal contractors and subcontractors without providing adequate protections. In addition, the filing detailed the many shortcomings in E-Verify that render the system inadequate for employers and far from foolproof.
The HR Initiative was especially critical of the rule’s requirement that employers verify all new hires regardless of whether they are assigned to a federal contract.
This means that a business with tens of thousands of employees would be required to implement a costly new verification system across the country even if only a small division of the company located in Washington, D.C. has a federal contract. This broad reach has no nexus to federal procurement law.
For a copy of the HR Initiative’s full comments, click here.
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The Human Resource Initiative for a Legal Workforce (www.legal-workforce.org http://www.legalworkforce.org) represents human resource professionals in thousands of small and large U.S. employers representing every sector of the American economy. The HR Initiative and its members are seeking to improve the current process of employment verification by creating a secure, efficient and reliable system that will ensure a legal workforce and help prevent unauthorized employment, a root cause of illegal immigration.