President Bush has signed an executive order requiring contractors and others who do business with the federal government to make sure their employees can legally work in the U.S.
Bush orders contractors to check legal status of employees
Bush signed the order Friday and the White House announced it Monday.
The order says federal departments and agencies must require contractors to use an electronic system to verify that the workers are eligible to work in the U.S.
Homeland Security operates the Web-based E-Verify system, which Chertoff said 1,000 employers a week are signing up to use. The system allows employers to check Social Security numbers provided by employees. The order would affect hundreds of thousands of workers, at the least, and potentially millions, Chertoff said.
Bush's order is aimed at cracking down on hiring of illegal immigrants. But people who overstayed visas or came to the country legally but do not have permission to work, such as some students or those awaiting work permits, also could be snagged with the system.