Tuesday, December 20, 2005

House OKs Bill to Tighten Immigration Laws and requiring employers to verify the legal status of their workers...

Washington Post


WASHINGTON -- The House acted Friday to stem the tide of illegal immigration by taking steps to tighten border controls and stop unlawful immigrants from getting jobs. But lawmakers left for next year the tougher issue of what to do with the 11 million undocumented people already in the country.

The House legislation, billed as a border protection, anti-terrorism and illegal immigration control act, includes such measures as enlisting military and local law enforcement help in stopping illegal entrants and requiring employers to verify the legal status of their workers. I thought that is what the INS I-9 was supposed to do that, so they're advocating to start enforcing the laws that are already on the books? It authorizes the building of a fence along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bush praised the House for approving the bill. "America is a nation built on the rule of law, and this bill will help us protect our borders and crack down on illegal entry into the United States," he said in a statement. "I urge the Senate to take action on immigration reform so that I can sign a good bill into law."

Nobody is advocating the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants, said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., sponsor of a guest worker measure. Without a temporary worker program, he said, "We simply won't enforce the law, and that's the dirty little secret here." that's interesting, a representative advocating to break the law... interesting

While many agree with Flake, there are wide differences on the details of a guest worker program. Some lawmakers would require those in the country illegally to leave before applying for such a program, arguing that counterproposals allowing those already here to seek legal status is equivalent to amnesty.

The bill makes unlawful presence in the United States, currently a civil offense, a felony. An amendment to reduce the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor was defeated, with many Democrats voting against the proposal in protest over subjecting people who have overstayed their visas to any criminal charges.

The most sweeping provision of the House bill would require all employers in the country, more than 7 million, to submit Social Security numbers and other information to a national data base to verify the legal status of workers.

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