Grassley Pushes for Government Contractors to Verify Immigration Status

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Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to know why undocumented workers are working in military bases and other federal government agencies.  An amendment was passed on Jan. 25, 2007 by the senate that would encourage government contractors to electronically verify the work eligibility of their employees.  In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Grassley asks if contractors and subcontractors of the federal government were included in the Department’s interpretation of the law.  Currently federal law requires that all federal government agencies participate in the Basic Pilot Program.  He’s referring to an electronic employment verification program that is being used by nearly 7,000 entities, including the federal government.  Grassley is pushing for mandatory participation of this program by government contractors.      “The law states that ‘Each department of the Federal Government shall elect to participate in a pilot program and shall comply with the terms and conditions of such an election.’ I would like to know how this law is being enforced, and how your department is working to ensure compliance by all federal agencies.” Sen. Grassley said.    Sen. Grassley also wanted legal opinion on whether government contractors and subcontractors should be required to use the Basic Pilot Program. He used examples of 60 undocumented workers being arrested at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) arresting 40 undocumented workers at three other military bases. Grassley used these examples to say that there were similar stories of this happening throughout the United States.    “Requiring those who do business with the federal government should be held to the same standard as our executive department agencies. I encourage you to take steps to ensure that contractors are using the tools that we have provided, and are participating in the department’s electronic employment verification system,” Sen. Grassley said.

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