Release Date: Dec 23, 2008Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber Lawsuit Challenges Massive Extension of E-Verify Program to Federal Contractors
Executive Order is being used to circumvent Congress, Chamber says
WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today challenged the legality of requiring federal contractors and sub-contractors to use the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) E-Verify system. Joining the U.S. Chamber as co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Society for Human Resources Management, the American Council on International Personnel, and the HR Policy Association.
"This massive expansion of E-Verify is not only bad policy, it's unlawful," said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the Chamber's public policy law firm. "The Administration can't use an Executive Order to circumvent federal immigration and procurement laws. Federal law explicitly prohibits the secretary of Homeland Security from making E-Verify mandatory or from using it to re-authorize the existing workforce."
The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, is Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Chertoff, et al.
E-Verify allows employers to voluntarily verify the work authorization of new employees. The Chamber's lawsuit challenges the government's use of an Executive Order coupled with federal procurement law to make E-Verify mandatory for federal contractors with projects exceeding $100,000 and for sub-contractors with projects exceeding $3,000. The Chamber also challenged expanding E-Verify to require the re-authorization of existing workers.
"The DHS intends to expand E-Verify on an unprecedented scale in a very short timeframe, and to impose liability on government contractors who are unable to comply," said Randy Johnson, vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber. "Given the current economy, now is not the time to add more bureaucracy and billions of dollars in compliance costs to America's businesses."
NCLC is the public policy law firm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that advocates fair treatment of business in the courts and before regulatory agencies.
The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.
# # #