SHRM, U.S. Chamber Join Suit Against E-Verify Changes

The Society for Human Resource Management, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and three other groups filed suit challenging a recent executive order that will require federal contractors and subcontractors to use the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify system to confirm prospective employees are legally eligible to work in the United States. Joining as co-plaintiffs in the suit were Associated Builders and Contractors, the American Council on International Personnel, and the HR Policy Association.

"This massive expansion of E-Verify is not only bad policy, it's unlawful," said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the chamber's public policy law firm. "The administration can't use an executive order to circumvent federal immigration and procurement laws. Federal law explicitly prohibits the secretary of Homeland Security from making E-Verify mandatory or from using it to reauthorize the existing workforce."

The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, is Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Chertoff, et al. It challenges both the reauthorization and the government's use of an executive order coupled with federal procurement law to make E-Verify mandatory for federal contractors with projects exceeding $100,000 and for subcontractors with projects exceeding $3,000.

"The DHS intends to expand E-Verify on an unprecedented scale in a very short timeframe and to impose liability on government contractors who are unable to comply," said Randy Johnson, vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the chamber. "Given the current economy, now is not the time to add more bureaucracy and billions of dollars in compliance costs to America's businesses."

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