One regional publication described Texas companies as operating under the "honor system" regarding E-Verify use, as the state's position on the background verification system remains cloudy.
In December 2014, the state's former Governor, Rick Perry, signed a bill that required state agencies to use E-Verify but failed to put in place a mechanism to ensure compliance, according to The Texas Tribune. Less than a year later, in June 2015, Texas' current Governor, Greg Abbot, signed a separate bill mandating state agencies use the system. This time, the Texas Workforce Commission was directed to implement the bill. However, there are still wrinkles yet to be ironed out. Specifically in terms of enforcement.
"There is no provision in this law for TWC to enforce, monitor or report or track other agencies' compliance," Lisa Givens, a spokesperson for the commission, stated. "We have provided ongoing technical assistance when requested."
Thus, why The Texas Tribune asserted the state's agencies are operating on the honor system. There are no real penalties or mechanisms to track whether E-Verify is being used, only a bill requiring state agencies to do so. While the bill signed by Abbott in 2015 only singles out state agencies, the Texas attorney general released an opinion in March extending the requirement to contractors and subcontractors hired by the state. Still, enforcement remains unclear.
What is clear, though, is that agencies that use the program may be better off than those that don't, at least in Texas. While the state government has yet to develop an enforcement policy, should it do so, contractors, subcontractors and agencies that until that point ignored the requirement could face punishment. When that may be, though, is as much as a mystery as what will happen now if employers are caught ignoring the mandate.