Senator Chuck Grassley said that his amendment to allow an employer to verify the work status of all workers, not just new hires, through the E-verify program passed the Senate late tonight. The amendment was offered on the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. Grassley's amendment passed by unanimous consent.
"Employers across the country want to abide by the rule of law and hire people who are legally in this country. E-verify is an effective and inexpensive tool to easily allow employers the opportunity to check the work status of their employees," Grassley said. "When people enter this country and are hired illegally, they create undue delays and hardship for people following the rules. E-Verify is a benefit to employers who wish to abide by the law as well as to Americans who can't find work because of illegal immigration."
Yesterday, the Senate voted in favor of an amendment offered by Senator Jeff Sessions that made permanent the E-verify program.
E-verify, formerly the basic pilot program, was first authorized in 1996 allowing only six states to participate. The program was reauthorized in 2001 and then expanded in 2003. The last expansion allowed employers in all 50 states the opportunity to voluntarily use the program. President George W. Bush signed an executive order in August 2007 that required contractors to use E-verify for any employees performing work for the federal government. The Obama Administration has postponed this rule several times, but announced yesterday that it would require some employees to be verified through the system if they receive government contracts.