Nearly a year after Congressman Jack Kingston (R/Ga) introduced amendments to have all federal contractors verify their employees' work eligibility, President Bush today issued an Executive Order requiring all civilian companies doing business with the federal government to confirm that all workers are authorized to work in the United States. The President's amendment to Executive Order 12989 requires the U.S. government to award contracts for work on federal installations "only with providers that do not knowingly employ unauthorized alien workers and that have agreed to utilize an electronic employment verification system."
"I am glad the administration has realized that this is a national security issue as well as an immigration issue," Congressman Kingston said. "Illegal workers have been found on military bases, government buildings and even working on the fence on our southern border with Mexico."
In July 2007, Congressman Kingston's immigration reform amendment was included in three House appropriations bills. It would have required any company competing for a government contract to participate in the Employment Eligibility Verification System (formerly known as the Basic Pilot Program) in order to be eligible for government contracts. The amendments were voted down by Democrats.
"It is a simple process, just like a background check to buy a gun," Congressman Kingston said. "The e-verify system allows contractors to call a number or go online and match the employee's name with government databases. It takes just a few minutes to verify if that person is a U.S. citizen or is authorized to work in this country."
The President has directed that executive departments and agencies that enter into contracts shall require, as a condition of each contract, that the contractor agree to use an electronic employment eligibility verification system designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security to verify employment eligibility.
"How can the government hire people who hire illegals?" Congressman Kingston asked. "We should have a higher bar and set an example for the private sector. The federal government is a trillion dollar customer so if you want to sell to us you must comply with the law."