In accordance with Transportation Code Section 223.051, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is requiring all prime contractors and subcontractors on construction and maintenance projects to register and participate in the E-Verify program.
Transportation Code Section 223.051, passed by the 85th Legislature, states:
The department may not award a contract for the construction, maintenance or improvement of a highway in this state to a contractor unless the contractor and any subcontractor register with and participate in the E-Verify program to verify employee information. The contractor and any subcontractor must continue to participate in the program during the term of the contract.
TxDOT published a Memo on the new E-Verify requirements, dated August 9, 2017, stating the E-Verify requirement is effective with October 2017-let contracts. According to TxDOT, all prime contractors and subcontractors on construction and maintenance projects must submit an affirmation of registration and participation in the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system. Information on the registration requirements can be found at the following link:
TxDOT will reject prime contractor prequalification applications that do not include the required E-Verify documentation, including the submittal of the affirmation and "E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding for Employers." Additionally, currently qualified prime contractors will be unable to access official bid proposals after Sept. 11, 2017, until the E-Verify documentation has been provided. Subcontractors will not be approved to work on TxDOT projects until their E-Verify documentation has been provided.
E-Verify Mandates in Texas
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 mandated the use of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9 for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States and made it illegal for employers to knowingly employ unauthorized immigrants. For the past thirty years, all United States employers have been required to complete and file a Form I-9 for each individual that they hire for employment in the United States.
Additionally, in 1986, an Internet-based system was created in the United States to track employment eligibility. This system is known as E-Verify. The E-Verify system compares an employees’ information from their Form I-9 to Department of Homeland Security, Social Security Administration, and Department of State records to confirm that the employee is authorized to work in the United States. For the past thirty years, participation with E-Verify has been largely voluntary; however, more and more states are passing laws mandating employers to participate in the E-Verify system.
Since 2014, Texas has required state agencies and the companies they contract with to use the federal government’s E-Verify system to screen for undocumented or ineligible workers by scrutinizing the information applicants submit to employers. A handful of states require all employers to use E-Verify, but Texas has not passed a statewide mandate because of opposition and concerns over the accuracy of the system.
By: Tiffany Harrod