One appeal fails, another pending today for E-Verify

Last-ditch effort to stop rule today

One legal appeal failed, but another last-ditch appeal has been filed in another court to stop the E-Verify rule for federal contractors from going into effect today.

A federal district judge on Sept. 4 dismissed a request for an injunction, pending an appeal, filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other plaintiffs, according to a report today in the Wall Street Journal. The same judge on Aug. 26 had rejected the plaintiff’s filing to overturn the E-Verify rule.

However, another appeal is currently before a judge, the WSJ says.

Attorneys for the chamber and the other groups filed an emergency motion for an injunction with the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., on Sept. 4. If approved, it would prevent implementation of the rule today. The court had not ruled on the request as of Sept. 7.

U.S. Chamber officials did not respond to a request for further information today.

E-Verify is a Web-based system run by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration. Under the E-Verify rule, federal contracts starting today must include a provision requiring use of the E-Verify system by federal contractors.

To use the system, employers enter the Social Security numbers of prospective new hires and current employees. If there is a match, the employee is eligible for work. If not, the employee is advised to contact SSA to determine the source of the problem. The program has been controversial due to errors in the databases involved. Also, the system was not designed to detect stolen Social Security numbers.

In 2008, the U.S. Chamber and other plaintiffs sued to stop E-Verify from being implemented for federal contractors. A district judge on Aug. 26 ruled against those organizations. On Sept. 1, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for an injunction.

Another potential legal obstacle may lie ahead for the E-Verify rule. The rule is scheduled to expire Sept. 30 under a sunset provision, unless Congress takes action before then.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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