Congress should push for expedited compliance with employment verification standards, particularly during these challenging times.  I am encouraged that an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was proposed to ascertain the lawful eligibility of employees of the companies receiving stimulus funds.  Verifying that essential jobs such as federal contracting be conducted by a legal workforce should be a top priority as we work to restore economic opportunity.

In this regard, E-Verify is a commonsense immigration enforcement measure that strengthens and secures our legal workforce.  While it has been used on a voluntary basis since 1996, this internet-based employee verification program was recently made to cover federal contractor hiring.  Although federal contractors were originally required to implement E-Verify as of January 15, 2009, the applicability date was pushed back to February 20, 2009.   Now the government has further postponed implementation through May 21, 2009.

Robust implementation of our immigration laws and enforcement mechanisms, such as E-Verify, is important to both our economic and national security.  With national unemployment now at 7.2 percent, we must combat any illicit demand for illegal labor by unscrupulous employers who willfully exploit vulnerable persons and distort U.S. markets.  E-Verify also protects businesses from inadvertent violations of the law.  As the system further develops, this should be a valuable tool, especially for small businesses.