State E-Verify Laws for Employment Eligibility Verification of Workers Detailed in New Report

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has released a new report, ‘An Overview of E-Verify Policies at the State Level,’ that details the growing use of the federal E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system by states to establish the legal work authorization status of newly hired employees in the United States. The July 2012 report is available on the CIS website at:

E-verify is a free Internet-based system that allows employers to determine the eligibility of employees to work in the U.S. in a matter of seconds by comparing information from employee’s  Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 with records in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), more than 353,000 employers use E-Verify at nearly 900,000 worksites, and approximately 1,200 new businesses sign up for it each week.

While the federal government requires federal contractors to use E-Verify, the system is not mandatory for all employers. As a result, some U.S. states have enacted laws mandating E-Verify usage, creating a confusing patchwork of regulations. The report details the 16 states with E-Verify policies already implemented, states requiring E-Verify or some verification system, and states that either prohibit or discourage E-Verify mandates. The state policies regarding E-Verify use are listed below in order from the most to the least comprehensive:

  • Arizona — All Employers:  “Legal Arizona Workers Act”
  • Mississippi — All Employers: “Mississippi Employment Protection Act” (S.B. 2988)
  • South Carolina — All Employers: “South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act” (H. 4400) Amended (S. 20)
  • Alabama — All Employers: “Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act” (H.B. 56)
  • Georgia — Nearly All Employers: “Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act” (S.B. 529) and “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011” (H.B. 87)
  • North Carolina — Nearly All Employers: H.B. 36
  • Indiana — Public Employers and Public Contractors: S.B. 590.39
  • Nebraska — Public Employers and Public Contractors: L.B. 403
  • Oklahoma — Public Employers and Public Contractors: “Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007” (H.B. 1804)
  • Virginia — Public Employers and Most Public Contractors: H.B. 737 and H.B. 1859
  • Missouri — Public Employers and Some Public Contractors: H.R. 1549
  • Louisiana — Public Contractors, Private Businesses Encouraged: H.B. 342 and H.B. 646
  • Minnesota — Some Public Contractors: Executive Order 08-01 (Lapsed April 2011, Minnesota finance omnibus bill in July 2011 reinstated some E-Verify provisions.
  • Pennsylvania — Some Public Contractors: “Public Works Employment Verification Act” (S.B. 637)
  • Idaho — Public Employers: Executive Order 2009-10
  • Florida — State Agencies under Direction of the Governor, and Employers Contracting with Them: (January 2011 executive order requiring agencies to use E-Verify was superseded in May 2011 with a similar E-Verify order bringing policy more in line with standard E-Verify practices.)
  • Tennessee — E-Verify or Alternative Programs for Nearly All Employers: “Tennessee Lawful Employment Act” (H.B. 1378)
  • Colorado — E-Verify or Alternative Programs for Public Contractors: H.B. 06-1343 amended by H.B. 07-1073 and S.B. 08-193
  • Utah — E-Verify or Alternative Programs for Public and Private Employers: “Private Employer Verification Act” (S.B. 251)
  • California — Prohibits E-Verify Mandates: “Employment Acceleration Act of 2011” (A.B. 1236)
  • Rhode Island — Requirement Rescinded: Executive Order 08-01 “Illegal Immigration Control Order”
  • Illinois — No Longer Prohibiting E-Verify: In 2007, Illinois legislature passed Act prohibiting employers from enrolling in E-Verify. The federal government filed a lawsuit against Illinois seeking to have the act declared invalid. In March 2009, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois agreed with the federal government.

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 legal eligibility for employment. In an attempt to improve that process, the U.S. Congress created E-Verify.

A Designated E-Verify Employer Agent such as Employment Screening Resources (ESR) can help employers with E-Verify compliance. For more information, visit For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and a nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at


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 a small percentage of 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, call 415.898.0044 or 888.999.4474 (Toll Free), or email

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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