Shutdown halts E-Verify checks

BY SCOTT WONG - 01/02/19 07:48 PM EST 321

Due to the government shutdown, employers across the country are unable to complete E-Verify checks for new employees. The program is down for everyone -- including on Capitol Hill.

House officials informed lawmakers on Wednesday that any new employees on Capitol Hill would not be screened under the E-Verify system due to the partial government shutdown.

"Due to a current lapse in federal funding, the E-Verify service is currently unavailable,” James F. Butler, director of the Office of Payroll and Benefits, wrote in an email to lawmaker offices that was obtained by The Hill.

The E-Verify process is facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security and is used by employers use to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

“Please note, once the E-Verify system is operational, the Office of Payroll and Benefits will perform the E-Verify process for each new hire and inform offices of any issues at that time,” the email continued.

Wednesday marked day 12 of a partial government shutdown, with Democratic leaders refusing to give into President Trump’s demands that more than $5 billion for a border wall be tied to a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and several other federal agencies.

Trump and his Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, told Democrats at a White House meeting on Wednesday that they needed billions of dollars for the wall to secure the southern border with Mexico.

Trump also believes that mandating DHS’s E-Verify program nationwide would curb illegal immigration. In fact, in his fiscal 2019 budget plan, Trump requested $23 million to expand the online program for all 50 states.

Hundreds of Capitol Hill staffers are set to begin work on Thursday, the first day of the new 116th Congress. Employers across the country, especially those who hire a lot of immigrants, are concerned about completing the hiring process while E-Verify is down, according to The Washington Post.

“E-Verify and E-Verify services are currently unavailable due to a lapse in government appropriations,” reads a message on the E-Verify website.

According to its website
, E-Verify is used by more than 750,000 employers and includes "more than 2.4 million hiring sites."

-Updated 8:47 p.m.