AUSTIN (KXAN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry took executive action Wednesday that orders all state agencies, their contractors and subcontractors to check all employees’ legal work status using E-Verify, an internet-based system that allows employers to check work status of their employees.
The executive order was announced during a news conference Wednesday where Perry slammed President Barack Obama’s executive order that halted deportations for some illegal immigrants.
“In effect, his action placed a neon sign on our border,” Perry said, blaming the summer’s surge of immigrant children and families on Obama’s immigration policies. “It’s clear now more than ever that Congress must finally pass a bill that dedicates the necessary resources to securing our border, once and for all. Without border security, immigration reform is a fruitless exercise.”
E-verify is run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the department of Homeland Security.
The system has already been used by businesses across the country.
“It gives us the comfort that we’re doing the right thing,” said Sean Bush from ABC Home and Commercial Services. They have checked worker status since 2009. Bush manages around 250 of the more than 600 employees at ABC.
“Anytime you do the right thing it might take a few extra steps,” he said, “but I think it just makes me feel better as a manager.”
“I just did two this morning,” said Michelle Nelson in ABC’s Human Resources office. She takes eligibility documents like social security cards, work VISAs, along with I-9s and runs them through E-Verify. Within minutes, ABC either has approval to legally hire the person to work for them, or the candidate is rejected because they are not approved to work in the United States.
“We have it very visible for the employees to know that if they do get a job here, we will run them through the E-Verify system,” said Nelson.
ABC is contracted to work on state properties, meaning they will be subject to the governor’s executive action and will be required to keep using the system. Thanks to some foresight, they are five years ahead of the curve.
So far, only 17 state agencies use E-Verify. The governor’s actions would affect more than 100 other agencies.