Contractors lose bid to suspend E-Verify enforcement

Plaintiffs still considering an appeal

A second federal court has rejected a request to suspend implementation of the E-Verify employment verification rule to cover federal contractors, meaning the rule now covers contractors' employees. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs are still considering filing an appeal.

Three judges on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., Sept. 9 denied an emergency motion for an injunction, pending appeal, to stop the E-Verify rule from becoming effective for federal contractors .

The Homeland Security Department began enforcement of the E-Verify rule for electronic employment verification rule for federal contractors Sept. 8. Under the rule, new federal contracts for more  than $100,000 must contain a clause that requires checking through the E-Verify system. That means that federal contractors must submit the Social Security numbers of their new hires into the E-Verify system. If there is a match, the employees are eligible to work; if not, there are procedures for dealing with discrepancies.

Gerry Fritz, communications director for the Associated Builders and Contractors trade group, said today the plaintiffs are still considering pursuing an appeal. The builders group is a plaintiff, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“It means that E-Verify is now in effect,” Fritz said. “Discussions on a formal appeal are ongoing.”

After the chamber and other groups challenged the rule in court, a federal district judge on Aug. 26 dismissed their case, and on Sept. 4 dismissed their request for an injunction, pending an appeal.

On Sept. 1, the plaintiffs moved for an injunction with the Fourth Circuit appeals court; if it had been approved, DHS would have had to hold off on enforcing the rule. However, the appeals panel on rejected that motion Sept 9.

Another legal concern 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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