New pages for U.S. passports now feature patriotic scenes.
New pages for U.S. passports now feature patriotic scenes. - 
Listen To The Story


Bill Radke: Next week, companies that land contracts with the federal government will have to starting check the citizenship status of all the employees who work on those contracts. One group of employers, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is trying to block the requirement, as John Dimsdale reports from Washington.

John Dimsdale: About 170,000 government contractors will have to enter their employees into a government database called E Verify. E Verify checks everything from citizenship to identity against Social Security Administration and Homeland Security databases.

But Randy Johnson at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls the system "glitch-prone," costly, and onerous to use.

Randy Johnson: Remember these could be companies the size of General Motors, IBM, you name it, who are across the entire country and have to run'em thru this new process. It's a big, heavy lift.

The same requirements apply to sub-contractors. Johnson says that's tough for prime contractors to enforce.

Mike Palmer with the law firm Barnes & Thornburg helps employers learn the E Verify system. Some states require it, and some companies use it voluntarily.

Mike Palmer: Once they do get the E Verify process going, it's not that onerous to manage.

Congress is considering bills to require E Verify checks for all workers.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.