Virginia state agencies will be required to use Homeland Security’s E-Verify database to check the immigration status of new government hires starting June 1, Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R) announced Monday.

The General Assembly adopted legislation last year that requires all government agencies to use the database to ensure all hires are legally allowed to work in the United States, starting no later than Dec. 1, 2012. Mc­Don­nell said he was ordering state agencies not already using the database to begin doing so 18 months early.

Mc­Don­nell said he wanted to start using the database “as quickly as possible.”

“We must consistently and correctly enforce the laws of this nation; our country is based on the rule of law,” he said in a statement. “E-Verify will ensure that every state job is held by a legally authorized worker.”

According to the governor’s office, state agencies in Virginia have had procedures in place to ensure they hire only only those legally allowed to work in the country since 1986. Agencies doing work under federal contract were already using the national database.