The Fremont, Nebraska city council recently voted to implement the E-Verify portions of an immigration petition – ‘Ordinance No. 5165’ – that requires businesses getting a business license in the city or performing work in the city to use the federal E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system. The ordinance took effect March 5, 2012, and businesses have a grace period of until May 4, 2012 to comply. A copy of the Fremont, Nebraska Ordinance 5165 is available at: http://www.fremontne.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=770.
The ‘Immigration Ordinance News’ page on the Fremont, Nebraska official website explains how the citizens of Fremont passed a petition initiated Ordinance 5165 – parts of which remain contested – relating to immigration on June 21, 2010:
“On February 28, 2012, a Resolution was passed designating the starting date for implementation of the employment provisions of Fremont’s Immigration Ordinance (Ordinance 5165) and continuing the suspension of the housing provisions of the Ordinance.
1. The effective date of the employment provisions of Ordinance 5165 (sections 1 and 5) is March 5, 2012. All business entities doing business in the City of Fremont that employ one or more persons must register in the E-Verify program on or before May 4, 2012. A business entity may register online. A business entity that applies for any contract, loan, grant, license, or permit from the City after March 5, 2012, must provide documentation that the business entity has registered in the E-Verify program and must execute an affidavit stating that the business entity does not knowingly employ any person who is an unauthorized alien.
2. The housing provisions of Ordinance 5165 (sections 2, 3, and 4) are not in effect and will not be enforced until there is a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit permitting the enforcement of all, or a portion of, those provisions.
3. No landlords or tenants have any obligations under Ordinance 5165 at this time.”
According to Ordinance 5165:
“All business entities doing business in the City of Fremont that employ one or more persons must register in the E-Verify program on or before May 4, 2012. A business entity may register online. A business entity that applies for any contract, loan, grant, license, or permit from the City after March 5, 2012, must provide documentation that the business entity has registered in the E-Verify program and must execute an affidavit stating that the business entity does not knowingly employ any person who is an unauthorized alien.”
The fact that a small town such as Fremont, Nebraska – located 20 minutes west of Omaha with a population of 26,397 residents according to the 2010 U.S. Census – has passed its own E-Verify requirement shows the need for some type of national E-Verify policy, according to Attorney Lester Rosen, a safe hiring expert and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR).
“E-verify requirements in the United States have become so fragmented and compartmentalized that now individual towns are passing their own rules,” says Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ the first comprehensive guide to employment screening background checks. “We are at the point where a small town of 26,000 is now passing E-Verify laws and employers trying to do business are faced with a bewildering patchwork of state and local laws which makes it harder to hire and do business.”
As previously reported in the ESR News Blog, each new E-Verify law creates a complex web of federal, state, and now local rules for employers to follow to remain legally compliant. While federal law mandates that federal contractors and subcontractors in all states must use the otherwise voluntary E-Verify system, several U.S. states – and some local counties and towns – have enacted laws mandating the use of E-verify, a free web-based system that allows employers to verify the legal work authorization status of newly hired employees, creating a complex and confusing web of laws and regulations.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 makes it “unlawful for a person or other entity… to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.” Employers violating that prohibition may be subjected to federal civil and criminal sanctions. The IRCA also requires employers to take steps to verify an employee’s eligibility for employment.
In an attempt to improve that employment eligibility verification process, Congress established E-Verify – a free and voluntary web-based system that allows U.S. employers to verify the work authorization of newly hired employees by checking information on the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) databases – in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996.
According to statistics from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), 98.3 percent of the 15.6 million queries submitted to E-Verify in the 2010 fiscal year were quickly confirmed to be legal workers. Employers who violate the E-Verify provisions may face costly fines and put their businesses at risk. Now more than ever, employers must maintain compliance in their Form I-9 and E-Verify process.
Employers may choose to have a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent assist them in maintaining E-Verify compliance. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background check firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – is a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent. To learn more about E-Verify services from ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php. For more information about background checks, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474.
About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’ – provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by less than two percent of all screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474.
About ESR News:
The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at firstname.lastname@example.org.