Federal government agrees to delay enforcement due to pending lawsuit
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Agreeing to a request by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the federal government will delay until February 20, 2009 the implementation of a new procurement rule that requires federal contractors and subcontractors to use E-Verify. The rule was scheduled to take effect on January 15, 2009.
"Postponing mandatory E-Verify use by federal contractors until February will give the new administration an opportunity to re-evaluate the efficacy of the policy," said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the Chamber's public policy law firm. "We hope the incoming administration recognizes that the last thing American businesses need during these difficult economic times is more bureaucracy and higher compliance costs."
Under current federal law, E-Verify use is strictly voluntary and the program may not be used to re-authorize existing employees. On December 23, 2008, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit challenging the use of an Executive Order to create a federal procurement rule requiring federal contractors with projects exceeding $100,000 and for sub-contractors with projects exceeding $3,000 to use E-Verify to authorize new employees and to re-authorize all of their existing employees.
The lawsuit, Chamber of Commerce, et al v. Chertoff, et al., is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The Chamber's co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Society for Human Resource Management, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the HR Policy Association, and the American Council on International Personnel.
"The administration cannot use an Executive Order to circumvent Congress' intent that E-Verify be used only on a voluntary basis," said Randy Johnson, vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber. "Although we hope to resolve the litigation in an expeditious manner, the postponement of the rule will help ensure that the court is not unduly rushed to weigh the serious legal questions in this case."
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.
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