While DHS officials have been reluctant to provide details on the future of DHS’ E-Verify in the early stages of the Administration, President Obama’s just released “A New Era of Responsibility” outlining the President’s FY 2010 Federal Budget vision may provide an early indicator of the Administration’s support for DHS program. Under the Department of Homeland Security section, the Administration states “[f]unding of $110 million is provided to continue expansion of E-Verify, an electronic employment eligibility verification system.”
The fact that E-Verify is highlighted out of the many DHS initiatives in existence and noted under the budget report’s section “Strenghtens Border Security and Immigration Services” seems favorable for the programs future. Even more important is the fact that $110 million in funding will continue for E-Verify under a budget proposal that contained significant cost-cutting.
While the program has been viewed as successful and has achieved record employer participation, it continues to be subject to withering criticism from business associations and advocacy groups regarding its effectiveness and the potential costs to businesses if it would become mandatory. The budget summary seems promising for E-Verify, however, it remains unclear what if any changes will be made to the program and how much support it will garner within the new Administration.
Victor X. Cerda, former Chief Counsel at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is a Partner of Jackson Lewis LLP in the firm’s Corporate Immigration Group in the Washington DC Region office. He focuses on advising corporations and individuals on immigration compliance and benefits strategies.