The government shutdown forced U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to temporarily suspend parts of the operation of its E-Verify employment eligibility verification program.
The E-Verify program is mandatory for some employers and is a valuable tool to ensure only those eligible to work in the U.S. are being employed. U.S. law requires employers to only hire workers who are eligible to work in the United States, the E-Verify website states.
In an announcement on Twitter, USCIS officials stated, “Due to a lapse in DHS funds,
#EVerify, #FormI9, #myE-Verify, Self Check and Self Lock services are temporarily unavailable. Our E-Verify website remains online, however, to provide resources.”
Due to a lapse in DHS funds, #EVerify, #FormI9, #myE-Verify, Self Check and Self Lock services are temporarily unavailable. Our E-Verify website remains online, however, to provide resources. https://t.co/AMshhhyFyu
— USCIS E-Verify (@EVerify) January 20, 2018
A recent Pulse Opinion Research poll found that American voters support the idea that mandatory E-Verify checks should be part of any deal on a bill to legalize President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Breitbart News reported. The poll asked, “Should any bill that gives lifetime work permits to young-adult illegal immigrants also include a requirement that all employers use the government’s E-Verify system to keep future illegal immigrants from settling in the U.S. to obtain jobs?” Respondents overwhelmingly supported the idea. Nearly 60 percent said yes while less than 25 percent said no. Nineteen percent said they were not sure.
Despite this public support, it appears mandatory E-Verify is being left out of DACA negotiations.
President Donald Trump listed E-Verify as a necessary program for establishing a “legal workforce” as part of his October 2017 immigration priorities announcement.
“Immigrants who come here illegally and enter the workforce undermine job opportunities and reduce wages for American workers, as does the abuse of visa programs,” the president stated. “Therefore, the Administration (is) increasing employment verification and other protections for U.S. workers.” The president stated there should be strong penalties for failure to comply with E-Verify.
Other USCIS programs impacted by the government shutdown include the temporary closure of Immigrant Investor Regional Centers, the Conrad 30 J-1 doctors waiver program, and the Non-minister religious program.
At this time, it is not known how long these programs will remain affected by the government shutdown.