Senate and DHS: Immigration Enforcement (ID Theft help)(update)

Some in the Senate may have finally figured out what the backlash on the immigration bill was all about. Now Republicans are proposing an “enforcement only” bill. It is also being proposed and sponsored by some of the leaders of the defeated pro-amnesty side:

A bill to strengthen immigration enforcement and border security and for other purposes (S 1984)

Kyl (R-AZ) introduced the bill and McCain (R-AZ), Martinez (R-FL), Sessions (R-AL), Cornyn (R-TX), Specter (R-PA), and Graham (R-SC) are cosponsors.

To be realistic, I am not sure if they are serious about pushing this bill. Hopefully they have ’seen the light’ and will, but given some of the cosponsors (Sessions and Cornyn being notable exceptions), I wonder if they aren’t just doing this to try to heal some of their self-inflicted wounds based on their amnesty support and attempt to shove the initial bill down our throats with little/no input. It may also be another way for them to try to run this as an enforcement bill and then try to sneak amnesty amendments etc in at the last minute. Then again, Sessions and Cornyn are also cosponosors and would, probably, keep close watch for such attempts by their colleagues.

Supposedly (bill text isn’t up yet), one really good point of the bill (besides the government finally puting forth a good faith effort to regain public trust on the issue), if passed, is a requirement for employers to use the EEV program and verify job applicant identities.

Time will tell if they are serious or just doing this to say “gee, we tried to get enforcement through” during their re-election campaigns.

On to DHS. The Bush administration/Homeland Security is also expected to come out with new rules. Excerpts follow:

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to make public soon new rules for employers notified when a worker’s name or Social Security number is flagged by the Social Security Administration.

The rule as drafted requires employers to fire people who can’t be verified as a legal worker and can’t resolve within 60 days why the name or Social Security number on their W-2 doesn’t match the government’s database.

Employers who don’t comply could face fines of $250 to $10,000 per illegal worker and incident.

The Department of Homeland Security says the new rule provides guidance to employers on how to deal with workers who receive no-match letters and what to do _ fire them _ if the issue is not resolved in 60 days and they can’t verify their workers are legal. It gives employers who comply immunity from penalties if illegal workers are found at their business in an investigation or raid, said Russ Knocke, Homeland Security department spokesman.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Homeland Security Department, “is going to be tough and aggressive in the enforcement of the law,” Knocke said. “You are going to see more work site cases. And no more excuses.”

Ray Atkinson, a spokesman for Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., confirmed that the country’s largest chicken processing company recently fired employees at two Texas plants. [I’ll have to keep an eye out for Pilgrim’s Pride products].

It also appears that employers using DHS’ EEV program (see also: DHS’ IMAGE program) would also gain immunity from further action if illegal employees were found – in other words, there would be a big incentive to use EEV. Swift Meats used the EEV/Basic Pilot program and the company was not fined or prosecuted for the illegal workers that were caught and removed. In that case, workers had stolen full identities rather than SSN only, as 90 percent of illegal workers do.

IF these measures go through, it will be a huge help in preventing child identity theft. Also, remember, this transcends illegal immigration and would also help catch fugitives and other identity thieves (like deadbeat parents – use child’s SSN to avoid wage garnishments etc).

Finally, I should have plugged UCourts in my post about the Utah Legislature hearings (above link) , especially with the discussion on child ID theft (UCourts is the cheapest way I’ve found to verify SSNs, including your child’s) .

UPDATE: Even if the Senate bill passed, I’m not sure it would do well in the House. Recently, House Democrats didn’t like the vote on revoking subsidies for illegal immigrants in the agriculture bill (Democrats wanted to keep the subsidies). So instead of taking the loss, they decided to go back and only count votes before all votes were cast (ie when the vote was going their way). RCP has a good piece on this (with video), including a basic explanation of the procedural tactics used prior to the Dem. vote cheat.

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