The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Matthew Allee, (202) 675-2312;

Problematic E-Verify Program Expanded to Include All Federal Contractors

Plagued System Should By Scrapped – Not Expanded


President Bush issued a final rule requiring all federal contractors to
use E-Verify, a flawed governmental system to check the citizenship
status of the workforce, as a condition of doing business with the
federal government. This rule would also require re-verification of
some current federal contracts. This unprecedented expansion will
require the compliance of millions of governmental contractors, for
which the systemic infrastructure simply does not exist.

E-Verify system checks the status of workers against their Social
Security file, maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA has already come under criticism for flawed databases, whose
errors have resulted in backlogs in payments for the elderly and
disabled. Mandating federal contracts to use E-Verify would only
exacerbate the struggles of SSA.

a time when our economy is under duress, people are without work and
struggling to stay in their homes, why would the federal government
expand a policy known to prevent innocent Americans from earning a
living?" asked Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington
Legislative Office. "Employment verification creates a domestic 'No
Work List,' leaving those swept up erroneously with the burden of
proving they should be eligible to work. President Bush's final rule
moves forward a flawed governmental initiative that does harm to our
American workforce, while failing to achieve its desired goal of
enforcing immigration policy. Congress should step in and scrap this
governmental boondoggle, enabling all Americans the opportunity to earn
a decent living."

have been legislative proposals in Congress to expand the E-Verify
system to encompass all hiring processes in the United States. The
Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act,
introduced by Representatives Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Tom Tancredo
(R-CO) in June, drew close examination from House Judiciary Committee
Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), prompting him to request a Congressional
Budget Office (CBO) estimate on the costs of implementation. CBO
projected that E-Verify would cost taxpayers $40 billion over 10 years.

has been problematic since its inception - hobbled by bureaucratic
errors in individuals' Social Security files and runaway costs -
preventing innocent Americans from working," added Timothy Sparapani,
ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. "The costs of moving forward with such
a troubled initiative will be felt by all Americans, either in lost tax
revenues for the elderly and disabled, or by those who will be
prevented from working due to systemic errors out of their control.
During times of such economic hardship, the federal government should
be wary of any initiative that would compound the struggles of our
American workforce. E-Verify represents bad policy, as well as bad
politics, and should be scrapped by Congress."

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666