The Obamacare exchange websites are open for business, but E-Verify –- the online program that allows employers to check the legality of their employees — is a non-essential victim of the government shutdown.
The government shutdown that began Tuesday has resulted in employee furloughs, closure of government property and federal programs, including E-Verify.
“ALERT: E-Verify is unavailable due to the federal government shutdown,” a notice on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services websites reads.
E-Verify is a free tool available to businesses to comply with the law to determine whether their employees are eligible to work in the United States.
“U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States — either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization,” USCIS website explains.
“E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use — and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce,” it adds.
Center for Immigration Studies executive director Mark Kirkorian speculated that the Obama administration’s decision to shut E-Verify down is “intentional.”
“The administration is deeply hostile to anything that makes life harder for illegal aliens,” Kirkorian wrote at the CIS blog. “E-Verify, even in its current state as a voluntary system, is used to screen some one-third of new hires nationwide, complicating efforts by illegal aliens to get work.
“But E-Verify is an automated system, with almost all replies untouched by human hands,” he added. “The administration could have discontinued just the manual confirmations required in a small percentage of cases, but instead have shut the whole thing down.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Christopher Bentley explained to The Daily Caller that the E-Verify is the only part of USCIS that is shutdown, as immigrant service fees fund the rest of the agency.
“In the case of E-Verify, the cost of the employees who actually work on the program, the cost of the infrastructure to maintain the database and the web-uplink and all of those things go into the cost of the program,” Bentley said. “That’s the part, the kind of roughly 5 percent of our budget that is appropriated by the federal government and that is specifically funds that program.”
Bentley stressed that the rest of USCIS is open for business.
“If you have a scheduled interview or appointment for biometrics collection or for green card interview or naturalization interview, we show up for that interview. That is taking place as schedule,” he said.
A number of other online sites across the government are down as well and not being updated, including the Agriculture Department’s website and the Census Bureau’s website.
The notice that E-Verify is “unavailable” offers a link to an explanation of just what the visitor will be unable to do during the shutdown.
While E-Verify is unavailable, you will not be able to access your E-Verify account. As a result, you will be unable to:
- Enroll any company in E-Verify
- Verify employment eligibility
- View or take action on any case
- Add, delete or edit any User ID
- Reset passwords
- Edit your company information
- Terminate an account
- Run reports
- View ‘Essential Resources.’ Please note that all essential resources may be found by visiting www.dhs.gov/e-verify.
In addition, E-Verify Customer Support and related services are closed. As a result:
- Employees will be unable to resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs).
- Telephone and e-mail support will be unavailable. You may send e-mails, however, we cannot respond until we reopen.
- E-Verify webinars and training sessions are cancelled
- E-Verify Self Check will not be available
We understand that E-Verify’s unavailability may have a significant impact on your company’s operations. To minimize the burden on both employers and employees, the following policies have been implemented:
- The ‘three-day rule’ for E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the shutdown. We’ll provide additional guidance once we reopen. This does NOT affect the Form I-9 requirement—employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay.
- The time period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be extended. Days the federal government is closed will not count towards the eight federal government workdays the employee has to go to SSA or contact DHS. We will provide additional time once we reopen.
- For federal contractors complying with the federal contractor rule, please contact your contracting officer to inquire about extending deadlines.
- Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of an E-Verify interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to a federal government shutdown (consult the E-Verify User Manual for more information on interim case statuses).
We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to serving you once we resume operations.