Jul 31 2008

Graham Calls for Extension of E-Verify

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has signed a letter with fellow Senators pressing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to ensure passage of legislation reauthorizing the E-Verify program which is set to expire in November.


E-Verify is a web-based tool run by the Department of Homeland Security for employers across the country. The state of South Carolina has also passed into law legislation mandating the use of E-Verify for government contractors and private employers in coming years.


Graham noted the comprehensive immigration reform bill Congress debated last year contained an even stronger version of E-Verify for employment verification and mandated all business use the system.  However, Graham noted that even a watered-down version of electronic employment verification, like E-Verify, is better than none at all.


“Congress is running out of time to reauthorize and even enhance E-Verify,” wrote Graham.  “The number of employers relying on the program to hire legal workers is likely to grow.  Small businesses and companies that utilize it need to be able to know that Congress is not going to let this program die.”


Known as the Basic Pilot Program since its inception in 1996, E-Verify provides employers with a process to verify the work eligibility of new hires.  Right now, nearly 80,000 employers use the program and according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, more than 1,000 employers voluntarily sign up to use E-Verify each week.


“Both sides of the aisle would like to see reforms to the electronic employment verification program,” said Graham. “Ultimately, we would prefer to pass a bill requiring mandatory participation in the program. Since there is very little time left in this session, we urge you to support a straight reauthorization of E-Verify.  Extending the program will keep employers accountable while giving them the tools needed to abide by the law in their hiring practices.”


The letter was also signed by Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), and Wayne Allard (R-Colorado).