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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Implementation of Mandatory Employment Verification Requirements for Federal Contractors


Location: Washington, DC

Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

Congressmen Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) today sent the following letter to President Barack Obama urging his Administration not to delay the implementation of the E-Verify employee verification system and the requirement for all federal contractors to verify the eligibility of employees.

With the unemployment rate at 7.2%, it is important for all federal contractors hire legal employees - especially with a massive influx of federal money from a proposed stimulus package.

Background: On June 6, 2008 President Bush signed Executive Order 12989 requiring the federal government to use electronic employment verification for federal contractors. In complying with this Executive Order, federal agencies put out a joint rule to implement E-Verify for federal contractors by January 15, 2009. The effective date was subsequently moved to February 1, 2009 under the Bush Administration. Further delays are expected to be announced tomorrow by the Obama Administration.

Dear President Obama:

We are writing to respectfully urge you to consider immediate implementation of mandatory employment verification requirements for federal contractors.

As you know, on November 14, 2008, the Federal Register published a final rule promulgated by The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council to require federal contractors and subcontractors to use the Department of Homeland Security's simple and efficient E-Verify technology to determine the employment eligibility of their workforce.

Although the rule was released with an original effective date of January 15, 2009, the implementation was subsequently delayed until February 1, 2009. According to a notice to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, January 30, 2009, your Administration will now further delay implementation until May 21, 2009.

E-Verify is an easy, internet-based system which allows employers to determine the legal employment status of employees using simple personal data and a Social Security number. E-Verify immediately confirms 99.4% of work-eligible employees, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services evaluations have reported that 96% of all participating employers do not believe the system overburdens their staff. To date, nearly 100,000 private businesses are already voluntarily using E-Verify to comply with our nation's immigration laws.

Given the present tumultuous state of the American economy, we believe that it is now more important than ever to ensure that federal contracting work is performed by a verified, legal workforce. Rising unemployment and a contracted credit market are making it harder for American families to make ends meet.

As you rightly stated on January 28, 2009, "The workers who are returning home to tell their husbands and wives and children that they no longer have a job…they need help now". We believe that reasonable accommodations have been made to give federal contractors ample time to prepare to comply with employment verification requirements. It is essential that the federal government lead by example and immediately apply mandatory employment verification standards for all federal contractors.

Thank you for your full consideration in this matter. The American people are looking to your leadership to create and sustain jobs and promote renewed growth and innovation in our nation's economy.

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