The Department of Homeland Security says it intends to abandon the “no match” rule for contractors — and probably for all employers in the future — and instead promote use of E-Verify.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said in her statement that the agency will endorse and support the federal contractor E-Verify regulation and continue efforts to improve the E-Verify system for all employers, not just federal contractors.
The move is intended to support the administration’s effort at emphasizing workplace enforcement and employment eligibility verification. Making it mandatory, and easier, for contractors is seen a precursor to requiring it for all employers.
Why de-emphasize “no match”?
- Organized labor has attacked the system as unfair and unreliable.
- The system was enjoined by a federal district court in Northern California shortly after the rule was published and before it took effect. DHS issued an amended rule in March 2008 to address the court’s concerns. Still, litigation had stalled the no-match rule.
In the Fall of 2008, the Bush Administration published a regulation that would have required all federal contractors to enroll in E-Verify and use that system to verify existing employees working on federal projects. Implementation of that rule was challenged by the US Chamber of Commerce and other employer/HR groups. The parties in that litigation had agreed to postpone the effective date of the rule several times, and the rule is now scheduled to take effect on September 8.
The announcement by Napolitano suggests that the Administration has completed its review of the federal-contractor E-Verify rule and is in favor of implementing the rule. If the rule is enjoined, it will likely take action by Congress to amend the law so that E-Verify is no longer voluntary but can be mandated for federal contractors, and then all employers.