One of the few things the Bush administration did right on immigration enforcement was to strengthen and expand the E-Verify citizenship verification system for employers.
A Senate aide tells me this afternoon that the Obama White House is preparing to gut the program.
Buzz on the Hill is that Team Obama will repeal some of the Executive Orders from the Bush Administration dealing with E-verify and so-called “No Match” Social Security number notices.
Here’s what I’m hearing:
1. In the case of companies that have federal contracts, the employer will not have to use E-verify to check the employment eligibility of his current employees, only new hires as a result of the federal contract.
a. So for example, X Lumber could have 15 illegal’s working for them right now who are illegal. If X lumber gets a federal contract they will not have to verify the employment eligibility of those 15 illegal’s. So they will receive a federal contract and our tax payer dollars will go to paying the salary of illegal workers.
2. E-verify requirements will stay in place for new hires.
a. So if X Lumber has to hire 4 more people as part of their federal contract they will be required to verify those workers.
3. DHS could also announce that it will rescind the No Match rule, which provides a safe harbor process for employers who receive a No Match letter from SSA, can follow in order to terminate the employee without repercussion. SSA “no-match” letters alert employers to the fact that they have submitted Social Security tax withholdings based on Social Security account numbers that do not match SSA records as to issued numbers and corresponding names.
The rule, which will be rescinded – proposed as a “safe harbor” for employers – steps to be taken when they receive a No Match letter from SSA. If the steps are taken for the employees who submitted suspect Social Security numbers and if the employer is later audited/investigated by DHS for hiring illegal immigrants, the employer can use the fact that he took the steps laid out in the rule as a defense to a charge of illegally employing those illegal immigrants for which the No Match letter was issued.
Businesses requested that such a process be laid out so that they were no longer subject to lawsuits.
Stay tuned and make sure your congressional reps have this on their radar screens: 202-224-3121.