Last week a number of business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Society for Human Resource Management, the American Council on International Personnel and the HR Policy Association, filed a lawsuit against Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The lawsuit purports that DHS can not legally require federal contractors to use the E-Verify online worker verification system.
Recently, DHS issued a mandate (signed into law by President Bush) that some federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to use the E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of all new hires and some continuing hires as of January 15, 2009. The lawsuit, filed on December 23, is asking the U.S. District Court to proclaim that the executive order illegal due to the fact that the law states that no persons or businesses should be required to participate in the E-Verify online program, with the exception of federal agencies, the legislative branch of the U.S. government and some groups that have previously violated immigration law.
The new system, the lawsuit claims, would create a significant burden on many companies required by the new law to use the E-Verify system. DHS, however, has stated that the current lawsuit is simply a method to delay the active requirement that some federal contractors and subcontractors use the E-Verify system in January 2009. E-Verify is already successfully being used by more than 90,000 employers, said a spokesperson of DHS.