E-Verify (Electronic Verification) is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify is designed to allow participating employers to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees by using DHS’s and SSA’s databases. Currently, E-verify participation is voluntary for most businesses. However, some companies may be required by state law or federal regulation to use E-Verify, such as most employers in Arizona and Mississippi. E-Verify is also mandatory for employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation E-Verify clause.
The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” (S.744) was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate. S.744 will require all employers to implement E-Verify. Failure to verify work authorization through E-Verify after the mandatory enrollment date will raise a presumption that the employer knowingly hired an unauthorized worker.
E-Verify is also the subject of numerous other bills recently introduced to Congress. These bills would make E-Verify mandatory and would expand to include current employers to make E-Verify part of the employment application process. Additionally, Congress granted the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) funding for the E-Verify program. Whether or not comprehensive immigration reform occurs, it seems highly probable that E-Verify will be mandatory for all employers in the foreseeable future.