Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is fighting to include an amendment in the stimulus bill that would extend E-Verify, a successful tool in determining whether new hires are legal to work in the United States. The amendment would also require any entities, such as small businesses, that benefit from the stimulus to use the E-Verify program.
E-Verify is scheduled to expire March 6. The program, monitored by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, had a 99.5 % accuracy rate as of the first half of 2007, according to The Center for Immigration Studies. The DHS says 96.1 % of employees are cleared automatically — over 6.6 million inquiries were run in 2008. The program has over 107,000 employers enrolled.
Sessions has asked for a vote four times and has been blocked each time. Congress voted in 2003 to extend the program for five years.
“I simply want to offer in this amendment exactly the same language that was accepted, without a vote, in the House [stimulus] bill,” Sessions said on the Senate floor. “This amendment would ensure that only people who are illegally here don’t get hired.”