By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
The employee immigration status verification system known as E-Verify –hailed by conservatives, criticized by immigrant advocates– expired Friday. But the Senate was poised to renew it through Sept. 30 as part of the massive spending bill it approved yesterday.
E-Verify, which allows employers to check the immigration status of new hires, has been at the center of heated arguments. But the debate is not divided along partisan lines: President Barack Obama and both Republican and Democratic legislators want to keep the system in place.
According to Gannett News Service, the Senate was poised yesterday to approve the extension until the end of September, but it also rejected an amendment to re-authorize the program for five years.
Democratic leaders opposed (Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’) amendment because it would have slowed passage of the overall spending bill by requiring a second vote in the House.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he supports a longer extension of the program but opposes attempts to force employers to use it.