Rhode Island’s Superior Court has dismissed an ACLU lawsuit aimed at stopping the use of E-Verify. It is a significant loss for the ACLU and a big win for state government.
On March 27, 2008, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri signed an executive order requiring state agencies and all companies, contractors, and vendors doing business with Rhode Island to use E-Verify, the successful and rapidly-expanding program that prevents the illegal employment of illegal aliens.
Governor Carcieri was pleased with the ruling, saying:
Requiring vendors doing business with the State to utilize the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify program helps protect the integrity of our government system and promotes public confidence. Therefore, I am extremely pleased with this decision.
This was a huge loss for the ACLU, an organization that has been working overtime to stop the continued expansion of E-Verify. The organization desperately attacked the executive order on a number of grounds, claiming, for example, that public notice was insufficient, that the executive order violated state separation of powers, that the order violated state contract law by impairing contracts between vendors and the state, and finally, that E-Verify is “inaccurate.” The court dismissed all arguments. The ACLU also sought a contempt-of-court citation and a restraining order against the Carcieri Administration. The court denied those claims for relief as well and concluded: “The Governor has the authority to issue the Executive Order.”
States not yet requiring employers to use E-Verify should look to this case as more evidence that the ACLU’s anti-E-Verify arguments are weak and unfounded. As of this writing, at least 13 states require the use of E-Verify in some format; only hours ago the governor of Nebraska signed a bill making his state the most recent state to mandate E-Verify. As of February 21, 2009 E-Verify was in use at nearly 440,000 worksites. The Center for Immigration Studies’ Director of National Security Policy Janice Kephart estimates that at its current rate, by the end of this year E-Verify use will have grown 442 percent since 2007.
The Center for Immigration Studies’ Senior Policy Analyst Jessica Vaughan wrote on this case late last year in two additional pieces.
The ACLU has vowed to appeal the decision. The court’s decision is available online.