Alabama E-Verify Law Requiring Businesses to Enroll in E-Verify by April 1 No April Fools Joke

All businesses in Alabama must enroll in the federal E-Verify employment eligibility verification system by April 1, 2012, and this is no April Fools’ Joke. According to ‘The Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act’ (H.B. 56), considered by many to be the toughest immigration enforcement measure in the country to date, every Alabama business – regardless of size – must enroll in E-Verify by the April 1 deadline to be in compliance with the law or else they could lose their licenses for failing to abide by the law. The full text of Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act is at: http://www.openbama.org/index.php/bill/fulltext/3154.

H.B. 56 was signed into law by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and requires employers to use the otherwise voluntary federal E-Verify system to ensure that newly hired employees are legally eligible to work in the United States and would also authorize the revocation of business licenses for companies that employ illegal workers. The law would be even tougher than Arizona’s SB-1070 law requiring mandatory E-Verify use that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision on ‘CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ET AL. v. WHITING ET AL’ in May of 2011, opening the door for other U.S. states to punish employers violating mandatory E-Verify laws.

As reported earlier on the ESR News blog ‘New E-Verify Laws Create Complex Web of Federal and State Rules for Employers,’ a Federal Judge ruling on the then recently-enacted H.B. 56 in September 2011 upheld mandatory usage of E-Verify by Alabama employers. In ruling on ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. STATE OF ALABAMA; GOVERNOR ROBERT J. BENTLEY,’ the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama issued an opinion upholding the order that Alabama employers must confirm the work authorized status of all new workers using the federal E-Verify employment eligibility verification system beginning April 1, 2012 or face penalties for hiring unauthorized aliens.

E-Verify is a free Internet-based system that allows employers to verify the legal work authorization status of newly hired employees by checking information on the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) that all newly hired employees in the U.S. are required to complete against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. While federal law mandates that federal contractors and subcontractors in all states use E-Verify, several U.S. states have enacted laws mandating E-Verify usage, creating a confusing patchwork of regulations.

(NOTE: On March 27, 2012, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) – the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States – published a notice of proposed revision to the Form I-9 in the Federal Register that seems to facilitate electronic completion and retention but will continue to permit manual completion and retention of the Form I-9. The proposed form is open for comment until May 29, 2012. The notice is at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-27/pdf/2012-7340.pdf.)

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 made it unlawful for an employer “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.” 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, the U.S. Congress created E-Verify.

A Designated E-Verify Employer Agent such as Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – can help employers with E-Verify compliance. To learn more about E-Verify services from ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php. For more information on background checks, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 415.898.0044.

Related ESR News Blogs:
New Alabama Law Requires Employers to Use E-Verify Employment Eligibility Verification System.
New E-Verify Laws Create Complex Web of Federal and State Rules for Employers.

Sources:
The full text of bill H.B. 56 is available at: http://www.openbama.org/index.php/bill/fulltext/3154.
The ruling for UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. STATE OF ALABAMA; GOVERNOR ROBERT J. BENTLEY is available at: http://www.cbs42.com/media/lib/124/5/d/1/5d1bd243-f883-4d25-9078-aa4f52da1cdd/Immigration_Ruling.pdf.
The Supreme Court opinion on ‘CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ET AL. v. WHITING ET AL’ is available at: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-115.pdf.  

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 tahearn@esrcheck.com.