The U.S. Senate, as part of the massive federal stimulus package, has voted to extend funding for the voluntary E-Verify program until Sept. 30, according to the Republic Washington Bureau.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, attempted to amend the legislation to re-authorize E-Verify for five more years but his amendment was rejected by a vote of 50-47.
Sen. Sessions addressed the Senate on Monday about the importance of re-authorizing E-Verify. Sessions said that about 2,000 businesses a week are voluntarily signing up for E-Verify and over 112,000 are now using it.
E-Verify is an on-line system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration. Employers using E-Verify can easily check the work status of new employees on line by comparing information from their I-9 form against the DHS and social security databases. The system is free and voluntary and Sessions says it is "a central component of eliminating the jobs magnet that draws people into our country illegally."
"The main purpose of the stimulus package was to put Americans back to work. It is common sense, therefore, to include a simple requirement that the people hired to fill stimulus-related jobs be lawful American citizens or residents, " Sessions said.
The Center for Immigration Studies http://www.cis.org/ has estimated that of the 2.5 millions jobs projected to be created by the stimulus plan, 15 percent or 300,000, would be going to people illegally in the United States.
President Obama, has pushed back an executive order to require all federal contractors and subcontractors to use E-Verify, that was supposed to take effect on February 20 to May 21.
Sen. Sessions said he will be introducing legislation soon to make E-Verify permanent and makes its use, "mandatory for contractors who get contracts with the U.S. Government, get money from the U.S. taxpayers." "At a minimum what employers should do is take the 2 minutes it takes to use E-Verify and determine whether a job applicant is legally authorized to work in the country, " Sessions said.