And when U.S. companies and employers want to check the immigration status of potential hires, they are greeted by a red banner across the top of the government’s E-Verify website. Those services are “currently unavailable due to a lapse in government appropriations,” it says.
And while the administration threatens to crack down on companies that hire unauthorized workers, the funding freeze has crippled the main compliance tool for employers trying to make sure they’re following the law.
Trump met at the White House on Wednesday with congressional leaders but appeared no closer to a deal, extending the dysfunction for at least another day.
Deb Wakefield, an employment attorney in Dallas, said she’s heard from several clients in the past few days who say they cannot complete the hiring process at their manufacturing plants because E-Verify is down. Her clients include a mattress factory and a chemical plant, she said, and both employers hire a lot of immigrants.
“They’re saying, ‘We can’t run E-Verify, what are we supposed to do?,’ ” she said. “But all they can do is wait.”
U.S. Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and other front-line enforcement personnel at the Department of Homeland Security remain on duty as “essential” workers, but with little more than an assurance they will eventually be paid.
The shutdown has squeezed their finances during what has been one of the busiest and most stressful periods in recent years at the U.S.-Mexico border. The arrival of record numbers of families and children has prompted DHS officials to declare a full-blown humanitarian crisis.