The federal government will postpone, until May 21, 2009, the implementation of a regulation that would require certain federal contractors to participate in the E-Verify electronic employment verification program. Implementation had earlier been postponed from its original implementation date of January 15, 2009 to February 20, 2009. The postponement occurs as the White House continues its review of some new and pending Bush Administration regulations. An announcement of the postponement is expected to be published in Friday's Federal Register.
The E-Verify requirement for federal contractors was originally slated to take effect on January 15, 2009. In Friday's announcement, the government will direct federal contracting officers to include an E-Verify clause in contract solicitations issued on or after May 21, 2009 and to modify certain existing indefinite contracts to include an E-Verify clause if those contracts have a period of performance that will extend beyond November 21, 2009.
DHS is delaying implementation from the original Jan. 15 starting date to Feb. 20 as a result of negotiations associated with a lawsuit filed by the chamber and other business groups, the chamber said in a Jan. 9 news release.
Under President George W. Bush’s executive order, use of E-Verify was to be made mandatory for approximately 168,000 federal contractors beginning Jan. 15. The E-Verify regulation pertains to federal contracts of more than $100,000 and subcontracts of more than $3,000. A coalition of business groups led by the chamber is suing to keep E-Verify from being imposed on contractors.
The chamber contends that the rule exceeds Congress’ intent in setting up the E-Verify program. "The administration cannot use an executive order to circumvent Congress' intent that E-Verify be used only on a voluntary basis," Randy Johnson, the chamber's vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits, said in the release. "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."
The chamber also said it hopes that the Obama administration will review the E-Verify requirement and possibly revise it.