Kennewick council to discuss using E-Verify

The Kennewick City Council will take a second look at a proposal to require companies that do business with the city to verify that their employees have valid Social Security numbers.

The E-Verify program, as it is called, has been accepted by several Washington cities as a means of confirming that companies' employees are properly registered with the government.

E-Verify can show if there is a reason to doubt an individual's status as a legal immigrant. Lisa Beaton, city attorney, will lead the discussion about E-Verify and explain what it can and can't achieve.

E-Verify requires federal contractors and subcontractors to verify their employees' eligibility to work legally in the United States. Failure to use E-Verify can result in disbarment from federal contracts.

In Washington, the cities Chehalis, Lakewood and Yakima, as well as Clark, Lewis and Pierce counties use E-Verify.

Beaton said if Kennewick opts for E-Verify, it only can be for new hires, and it can be used only after someone has been hired. Using it to check employment eligibility would be discriminatory.

Currently, the city uses an online service to do background checks on employees after they are hired. That check confirms validity of a Social Security number, she said in her report to be presented tonight.

The council also could implement an E-Verify program for companies that do contract work for the city.

The workshop, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will be at City Hall, 210 W. 6th Ave., Kennewick.

-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; jtrumbo@tricityherald.com