The Alabama immigration law which was set to be effective from April 1st saw the deadline close in a dismal fashion. Results show a significant number of businesses have failed to register with E-Verify the employment eligibility verification program

The federal government says 18,137 Alabama companies had enrolled in the E-Verify system by Monday, the day after the deadline. But state figures show there are at least 85,000 companies with employees in the state, and some 368,000 businesses filed state tax returns last year. That means thousands of the state’s employers missed complying with the law by the deadline. Most companies have failed to register as they were not aware of the law taking effect from the beginning of this month.

The immigration crackdown signed into law last year gave every Alabama employer or business entity until the start of this month to enroll in E-Verify, which is run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. . According to the law all Alabama employers with one or more employees have to be fully compliant and enrolled in E-verify by April 1, 2012. Businesses also are required to begin using the system to check immigration status. Companies that hire undocumented immigrants face penalties including the loss of their business license. To encourage registration, businesses have legal protection if they screened a worker with E-Verify and the person checked out OK but was later determined to be living in the country illegally.

Alabama brought about the nation’s most stringent immigration law and how it takes effect and success could be a pointer to other states to implement similar immigration programs. As of now nine of the states have made E-verify mandatory for all or most employers while most of other states restricting employment eligibility check to public employers or federal contractors. The outcome of the Alabama law is awaited by most lawmakers in other states as guide and rule to draw their own immigration policy.