The authorization for E-Verify ends today but the future of the program is still up in the air. E-Verify is an online system that allows employers to check whether or not there new employees are eligible to work in the United States. There are 80,000 employers currently participating in this voluntary program, with the exception of employers in Arizona and the U.S. government.
Though Congress failed to re-authorize E-Verify in time, the FY 2009 appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security had conflicting language about the true end date of E-Verify. A Department of Homeland Security memo speculates that the program can still continue to operate until September 30, 2009. The memo makes two main arguments: (1) the Comptroller General routinely holds that if money is appropriated for a program it can legally continue for the remaining time of the fiscal year, (2) ending E-Verify would also go against the mandate that DHS must “assist United States employers with maintaining a legal workforce” through the use of E-Verify.
DHS should keep E-Verify operating according to this interpretation to avoid major disruption in the employers participating in the program, as well as the ability of the U.S. government to hire necessary employees. However, regardless of this legal interpretation, E-Verify must be re-authorized. Congress should not stall, but re-authorize E-Verify as quickly as possible to avoid major setbacks is this necessary program.