Immigration Enforcement

E-Verify Reauthorization Stalled With Time Running Out

Congressional efforts to reauthorize E-Verify, the electronic work authorization verification program, have stalled despite bipartisan efforts of many Members to bring a bill to the floor. The program, vital to combating the unlawful employment of illegal aliens, will expire in November if legislation to reauthorize the bill does not pass both the House and Senate before the fall recess. In March, Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA), along with sixteen cosponsors, introduced H.R.5596, which would extend the E-Verify program for a ten-year period. Plans to bring the bill to the floor were halted earlier this month when Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX) insisted that language be added to the bill that could jeopardize future funding of the operation of the program. In short, Rep. Johnson’s language would prohibit the Social Security Administration (SSA) from ever spending any of its own funds to implement the program. Since the program is a joint effort of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and SSA, this means that if DHS ever fails to enter into a reimbursement agreement with SSA, the SSA database could not be used to verify an employee’s legal work status.

Multiple Hill sources inform FAIR that efforts are underway to get a clean reauthorization bill to the House floor—i.e. the original Calvert bill without the Johnson language.  With E-Verify set to expire in November and the month-long August recess just around the corner, lawmakers are running out of time to reauthorize this important program.

Since its inception in 1996, the electronic verification program has proven to be an effective and useful tool in protecting legal workers and the individuals who hire them. In fact, in the last few years the number of employers registered for E-Verify has risen to over 75,000, and DHS recently reported that over 1,000 new employers are registering each week. (Testimony of Secretary Michael Chertoff, July 17, 2008)

In fact, support for E-Verify has grown so significantly that President Bush last month issued an executive order requiring all federal contractors to use the program for new and existing hires. (White House Press Release, June 9, 2008) Following the announcement, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said, “A large part of our success in enforcing the nation’s immigration laws hinges on equipping employers with the tools to determine quickly and effectively if a worker is legal or illegal. E-Verify is a proven tool that helps employers immediately verify the legal working status for all new hires.” (DHS Press Release, June 9, 2008)

In addition to federal contractors, eleven states have also enacted laws encouraging or requiring use of E-Verify for state contractors, state employees, and, in some cases, for all employees. (National Conference of State Legislatures, May 5, 2008) States included are Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and, most recently, South Carolina. (Id.) Following a contentious battle in the South Carolina State Legislature, Governor Mark Sanford praised his state’s adoption of legislation that requires all employers to use E-Verify: “We’ve said from day one that while we’re a nation of immigrants, we’re also a nation of laws – and that South Carolina shouldn’t be in the business of sanctioning illegal activity with a wink and a nod.” (Sanford Press Release, June 4, 2008)

Stay tuned for more information on legislative efforts to re-authorize E-Verify.


July 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Omnibus Appropriations Bill Guts Fencing, Other Immigration-Related revisions

From FAIR:

This week, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) came under increasing pressure for her amendment to the FY08 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R.2764) that grants the Department of Homeland Security significant discretion regarding the border fence (Houston Chronicle, January 12, 2008). Approximately 700 miles of two-layered fencing was mandated by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, but since the legislation was signed into law, critics have been looking for opportunities to undermine it. Senator Hutchison as early as January 2007 expressed “deep skepticism” about the fence (Dallas Morning News, January 10, 2007) and during the course of the past year successfully offered several amendments that required Homeland Security to increase consultation with border communities and gave the Department more discretion in building the fence. None of the bills to which these amendments were attached passed, however, until the Omnibus Appropriations legislation was enacted in December.

Border security advocates claim the Hutchison amendment dismantles the Secure Fence Act. The amendment: (1) eliminates the requirement for two-layered fencing; (2) deletes the specific locations for fencing set out in statute and replaces them with language that gives Homeland Security broad discretion in determining where the fencing will be built; and (3) has a sweeping consultation requirement that requires Homeland Security to consult with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as Indian tribes and “property owners.”

Finally the Hutchison amendment is particularly troubling to fence advocates because of a paragraph that some argue calls into doubt the construction of any fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. That language provides that notwithstanding the requirement that Homeland Security construct 700 miles of fencing along the southwest border, “[N]othing in this paragraph shall require the Secretary of Homeland Security to install fencing, physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors in a particular location along an international border of the United States, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border at such location” (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, Division E, § 564(a)(2)(B)(ii) [internal paragraph (D)]).

Already, opponents of the border fence are gearing up for a lawsuit based on Hutchison’s amendment. Peter Schey, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, an organization supporting several opponents of the fence, sent Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff a letter on Monday threatening legal action to prevent any further fence construction. Schey’s principal claim is that the Secretary must restart the process of building the fence in order to consult with affected parties as required by the Hutchison amendment (Dallas Morning News, January 9, 2008).

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), one of the authors of the Secure Fence Act, told reporters Friday that the Texas Senator’s change was “either a blatant oversight or a deliberate attempt to disregard the border security of our country” (United Press International, January 11, 2008). In response to her critics, Senator Hutchison said, “I feel like this has been a little blown out of proportion” (Houston Chronicle, January 12, 2008). Hutchison insists her measure in no way jeopardizes the fence construction once due to get under way in Texas in the spring (Id.).

January 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Immigration Groups Having An Effect On Huckabee On The Ground In Iowa

From Diggers Realm:

By Digger

The Iowa initiative being held over the past 4 days by ALIPAC, Voice of the People USA, 9/11 Families for a Secure America, 20 talk radio stations and FAIR are having an impact on Mike Huckabee and his numbers are falling like a rock!

Mitt Romney has regained the lead in Iowa after the 4 day mission to expose Huckabee for the fraud he is regarding illegal immigration.

Arizona Republic

… Mitt Romney has regained the lead among Iowa Republicans as Mike Huckabee has lost momentum and support, even among the evangelical Christians who had propelled him into the top spot just weeks ago….

[Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research] said, “Romney has rebounded, and the Huckabee bubble may have burst.

“Last time, Huckabee was getting all the good press and nobody had put him under any scrutiny. . . . Now he’s under the spotlight, and he’s started to wilt a little.”

This is absolutely great news and my hat is off to the groups who have been out there on the ground going door to door and making phone calls.

This just in from William Gheen of ALIPAC

Our team in Iowa has conducted over 25 talk radio interview broadcasts into Iowa and other locations around the nation. We have kept our message clear that Huckabee is trying to deceive the voters, is pro-amnesty, favors benefits for illegals, and that the endorsement of solo Minuteman Jim Gilchrist is opposed by our movement. Absolutely NO leaders have joined him in his support of the Huckster.Huckabee has Gilchrist on the media bus with him traveling across Iowa to try and deceive voters about his current and past stances on illegal immigration.

ALIPAC has purchased a barrage of radio ads that will run on Tuesday and Wednesday, which will reinforce our message. We have targeted 43,000 likely Republican voter households with our message and received a 6 to 1 feedback in our favor.

Our efforts are having an impact. Huckabee’s numbers are dropping rapidly. We must prove that our collective efforts can expose a fraud and that being on the wrong side of this issue will cost a candidate their chances at winning.

I hope Huckabee loses and I hope all candidates look around and realize that Americans have had enough of the same lip service regarding illegal immigration. His record speaks for itself and nothing he can say will ever change that.

Good job guys!

December 31, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment