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NC governor shoots down legislation that would expand E-Verify requirements but exempt more seasonal workers

By Pamela Wolf, J.D.

Last week North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory vetoed legislation that would expand the RECLAIM NC Act’s E-Verify requirements to bar city, county and state government agencies and boards from entering into contracts with contractors unless they are enrolled and participate in E-Verify. It would also change the definition of “employee” to exclude an individual employed for less than nine months in a calendar year.

The legislation, HB 786, which had been ratified on July 26, “makes it easier for businesses to circumvent federal immigration law, which could allow more illegal immigrants to be hired in North Carolina industries,” the governor said in a statement. Currently, seasonal workers in North Carolina are given an exemption from E-Verify screening, which is used to determine an employee’s or an applicant’s legal status. HB 786, the governor protested, expands the definition of a seasonal worker from 90 days to nearly nine months.

In his objections and veto message, presumably referring to the expanded definition of a seasonal worker, McCrory said that bill includes “a loophole that would allow businesses to exempt a higher percentage of employees from proving they are legal U.S. citizens or residents.” He also said the legislation “will put our legal residents at a disadvantage in the job market.”