A SAVE On Immigration?

A new proposal on border security and immigration control via employer sanctions has begun to make the rounds on Capitol Hill. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) have sponsored the SAVE Act, which would mandate operational control of the border and secure ID verification at employment as a strategy to curtail illegal immigration. They have won sponsors as diverse as Duncan Hunter and John Murtha, and the pair hopes to gain the attention of House leadership:

Two ardent proponents of border security are teaming up to introduce a bipartisan bill aimed at curtailing illegal immigration through employer sanctions.
Reps. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), who were both elected after strongly criticizing President Bush’s approach to immigration reform, are unveiling a bill Tuesday that has already attracted the support of dozens of members. …
The Secure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act focuses on three areas: employment enforcement, interior enforcement and increased border security.
One of the more controversial provisions would make the so-called E-Verify program mandatory, a move that raises major concerns with industry officials.
Proponents of the E-Verify program say it allows employers an inexpensive way to ensure they are hiring legally documented workers. They maintain that the program has been successful, but is only being used by a small percentage of employers.

The mandate for e-Verify use will create some hurdles on the Republican side of the House. Business lobbyists have fought the requirement for employers to check each new hire against the Social Security database, claiming higher costs and inaccurate results. Immigration-control advocates point out that current methods of verification also have mandates (the I-9 requirement), and are also prone to error, more so than e-Verify.
SAVE does more than issue employer mandates. It adds another 8,000 Border Patrol agents, and it expands the investigative power of the ICE. SAVE would also mitigate data-sharing obstacles between the DHS, IRS, and the Social Security Administration. Those features may generate opposition not just from business interests but also from civil libertarians, depending on the nature and use of the data-sharing envisioned by SAVE’s creators.
The latest bipartisan proposal is also noteworthy for what it does not include. SAVE says nothing about guest worker programs or normalization. It also doesn’t propose any changes to the legal immigration process to make it easier for legal immigrants to enter the country. SAVE moves away from the comprehensive approach to immigration reform by addressing the critical issues first, and leaving the other components of comprehensive reform for another debate at another time.
Bilbray and Shuler have the right idea. Instead of ramming this through Congress without debate or study as the Senate attempted earlier this year, the House can prove itself the more contemplative body on this topic with a responsible legislative process. That will give Bilbray, Shuler, and their co-sponsors an opportunity to refine the bill and make its case to their colleagues and an American public that has waited for six years after 9/11 for Congress to take national security a little more seriously.

15 thoughts on “A SAVE On Immigration?”

  1. At least at first glance, I would support this. e-Verify has problems, serious in nature and consequences, which still need to be addressed. But this goes to the heart of what I feel is the key to immigration control. Remove the temptation to enter illegally, and illegal entry will decrease. Take away the jobs and the public assistance opportunities for people without proper documentation and you stem the flow.

  2. an American public that has waited for six years after 9/11 for Congress to take national security a little more seriously.
    It would have been nice if the allegedly Republican President in the White House could have taken this seriously, to say nothing of people like Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani. But if this is going to get fixed it will be over the opposition of the current GOP leadership.
    The Democrats, of course, continue their decades long work to obliterate America, but we expect such behavior from them. What is the Republicans excuse?

  3. The real reason illegal immigration won’t get fixed anytime soon:
    10,000,000 – Number of workers using illegal Social Security Numbers
    $200.00 – Monthly withholding (low estimate) for SSI, Medicare & IRS
    $2,000,000,000 – Monthly Government income from the use of illegal SSN’s
    This is THE dirty little secret. Congress knows they will have $2 billion less each month to spend. (Can you imagine all the dead pork.) The SSA, IRS and Medicare offices all have a paper trail of every worker in America using an illegal SSN. They may not know were they live, but they definitely know were they work. Law enforcement officials need to start showing up at businesses with a dragnet. They are guaranteed to catch more than just illegal aliens.
    Am I over simplifying the problem??

  4. The REAL fence is the one across the average employer’s desk. Up till now, give the employer a couple of phony documents, and HE (the employer) was off the hook for all practial purposes. The illegal worker was never “on the hook,” really. At worst, the worker gets sent back home to Mexico. Big whoop. The only leverage the government has is with the employer, when the employer can suffer unpleasant consequences. The current law gave the employer a giant loophole to walk through. Maybe Congress has finally admitted that “enforce the current law” is really just “look busy and enforce the big employer loophole.”

  5. How do you invite a recession to become a depression?
    There once was a time, a person got out of high school, or college. Got a job. And, stayed there until retirement. (Well, at one time, the clock was set for “retirement in 40 years.)
    Police departments, to recruit members; and, also needed agile men who could still run; embraced the idea of 20-years to retirement. So you could enter at 20. Retire at 40. And, work elsewhere; where, whatever you earned was supplemented with retirement pay.
    I bet lots of places with good golf courses; from Miami, to the Bahamss, to Arizone, deftly wove this into their “attraction,” fabric. (Heck, too, Idaho.)
    But then something “spooky” happened. Not just at IBM, which no longer guarantees full employment to retirement; but over in Japan! The world of men working at the same place … blew up.
    Today? It could mean you don’t notice how often someone job hops. And, not just to another, similar company, either. Job hops into new fields. (Sure. Some down. “Baristas” at Starbucks.) Some? From marketing to advertising, let’s say.
    And, what if you’re a journalist? Or a writer? You think the current world is your oyster?
    Here’s my anticipated conclusion. With the dollar dropping like a rock. With it being unprofitable now to make “real estate profits.” So, you’re stuck with rentals, and all that entails …
    There’s gonna be a pull back of sorts. Why? Because there aren’t enough large families who know how to pool their assets in times of troubles.
    (Samuel Fuller. Famous director. Wrote his autobiography, called THE THIRD FACE.) Dropped his budding career to join the infantry. In WW2. Served with Patton. The BIG ONE. (And, later made a film about these adventures.) I mention it, because he had a unique employment trajectory. Starting when he was 8. Buying and selling newspapers, to people who road the subways. Buying papers for a penny, each. Standing on street corners. And, selling the papers to people entering the subways in the morning. Or exiting, to go home, at night. (He got very little schooling.)
    But he met Hearst. When he was 15. (Or less. He may have had to lie about his age, to get “working papers,” which were not given out to 12 year olds.) But you get the picture.
    Fuller was born around 1908. His mom was left to raise 3 small boys. Alone. (Dunno what happened to his dad. But it wouldn’t be unusual for men to “just walk off.”)
    What American had, then, was ENTERPRISING KIDS, who were able to see to it that, by pooling what they could earn, the family survived.
    Today’s kids? They are being told they need to be “academic.” Without straddling themselves with $150,000 to $300,000 in debt … (With some semesters up to $48-K … for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF VALUE) … You’ve got to contemplate what’s ahead.
    Fewer jobs? Perhaps. Does this mean by “forcing employers” to rid themselves of workers, now; that jobs will go unfilled? Lots of Americans without jobs, need them.
    (Though I did read one man’s version of his visit to a car wash. No Mexicans! Just an inferior bunch of hires, looking legal. Who did not do such a terrific job.)
    Seems to me the illegals we need to worry over, come from Saudi Arabia. They’re not looking for jobs. Just planes they can run into buildings. And, others who learn the fundamentals of driving a diesel truck. No need to arrive at a destination. When you explode as a martyr.
    We’re not touching those!
    Riyadh is till, as a matter of fact, a favorite destination in the Mideast! Just try to move those dudes to Baghdad, and you smell “bust.”
    Well, if the media isn’t gonna tell ya the truth? Where can you go to see that other people are already thinking along these lines? I know. Not alot. Not yet.
    While the business model for the MSM, has been on a downgrade, as soon as the power of the Net erupted.
    Do you want to know how lousy business decisions get made? Look at the NY Times,compared to eBay.
    Did you know only the classified’s were the goldmine for newspapers? Figure this out. The same opportunities were there when a bunch of fella’s, living near the “bay” up in the San Francisco area; looked out their window. Understood the Internet’s database. And, went into business.
    Need another model? Watson. IBM. Saying the typewriter had a long life ahead of it, because every office had a Selectric. (Oh, and men didn’t type.)
    That’s the real nature of wealth building.
    Outside of the cartels, including drug and oil cartels). Those businesses wrap around on a few very wealthy people. And, lots of slaves. As if you didn’t know.

  6. “Am I over simplifying the problem??”

    No doug you are not.
    As long as what you stated remains true, the politicans can continue to say that cleaning up the SS Database is impossible and/or the cost would be too high and it would take decades at least.
    Yes, the cost would be considerable and it might take several years.
    But everything costs too much nowadays, so lets spend money where it will do some real good in the long run and save us money…
    As well as save our Republic.
    Papa Ray

  7. This is not only a security issue, it is a corruption issue. Our politicians takes bribes to ignore, not enforce, and generally subvert the law. And it costs the country more in money and more in cynicism and contempt for our instititions than all the bridges to nowhere combined. Why do so many people not see this?

  8. Freshman Congressman Looking to SAVE Immigration

    I spend so much time on this blog criticizing our government for what they aren’t doing, that I am now elated to announce I can applaud Congress for what they are in the process of doing. Reps. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.),…

  9. I am still on the fence about this legislation … the “SAVE” Act.
    It is a great idea in theory, however, I believe it makes the E-Verify system phased in over 4 years ………… depending on the size of the company using it.
    The E-Verify system could be made mandatory over night …….requiring companies to verify American Citizenship or Legal Alien Residents …….. today. Not in four years.
    Immigration law is not new and every single employer knows it is against the law to hire an illegal alien. I want those companies, CEO’s and employers punished for gaming the system and the American workforce.
    Also, by allowing a four year phase in …… the legislation as written will only facilitate increased identity theft and the drafting and collection of false documents.
    The effort to remove the jobs magnet should be applauded …….Representative Shuler is on the side of the American worker.

  10. I think it’s unrealistic to expect e-verify phasein overnight. Even just from a systems perspective, is it stable and able to handle the traffic? I can accept a phase-in.
    This bill seems to me to be a reasonable set of common-sense steps that can be understood, digested, and might with some arm-twisting even get passed into law.
    I haven’t read the details yet, and would of course like any such bill to include sanctions against ‘sanctuary entities’, but you take what you can get.
    Comprehensible is far more important than comprehensive.

  11. flenser:
    Our supposedly Republican president?
    Well if all those supposed Republicans out there who managed to pretty well ignore the issue for years had been half as interested in finding a solution to this age old problem years ago as they are in blaming everything on Bush we would not be discussing it today. I know they will say they were concerned, but somehow they managed to avoid showing it.
    In fact George Bush has put more resources and people on the border than any president, Republican or Democrat ever has.
    I know there are people who think that he should have been able to just wave a magic wand and make all the bad illegals go away in a couple of years, but that is completely unrealistic. Even getting enough border agents hired and trained and on the job to really help takes a lot of time.
    This is thousands of miles of border and even more shore line and there are all kinds of people from all levels of government involved in the process.
    The last I heard the fence is under construction. I read in early October in a Leadership Journal article, that there was more than 152 miles of fence on the southern border and 72 miles of new fence. There was also 114 miles of vehicle fencing with plans to reach 300 miles by the end of next years. Next year the government plans to build an additional 225 miles of pedestrian fence along that border and about 200 miles of vehicle fence. That would bring them to almost 700 miles of fence by the end of 2008. Needless to say, people will complain about what kind of fence it is, they will say it is taking too long, they will probably hate it even when it is done, but the thing is getting built.
    As for corruption, give me a break. I was at someone’s home the other day and they had Discovery or something on TV the show was all about Vandalia onions {I think I spelled that right}. The fields were full of working men and women and most of them looked hispanic to me. Now it might be that everyone of them has a green card, but my point is they were out there in broad daylight working their fannies off. It was not some big corporate conspiracy or something.
    And besides, a lot of these people do not even work for corporations of any kind.
    I can’t believe I am listening to so many supposed Republicans sounding like populists themselves.
    In fact in the last month with the higher gas prices I have heard people complaining more about higher food prices and I don’t think they would appreciate seeing them go even higher.
    I think this bill sounds fine, but I do think we need a guest worker program. A program like the one that Canada has meets the need for labor in certain areas without creating a permanent underclass. A program like that could help take pressure of the border and in truth it would work better if it is more difficult to enter illegally. So a guest worker program and increased security together would be a good thing.

  12. Well if all those supposed Republicans out there who managed to pretty well ignore the issue for years
    Bush is President of the United States. With power comes responsibility, regardless of your efforts to infantilize the man.
    I know there are people who think that he should have been able to just wave a magic wand and make all the bad illegals go away in a couple of years
    Well, he might have at least made an effort to enforce the laws on the books.
    Or to have been as serious about enforcement as Bill Clinton was. Would that have been too much to ask?
    The fields were full of working men and women and most of them looked hispanic to me. Now it might be that everyone of them has a green card, but my point is they were out there in broad daylight working their fannies off. It was not some big corporate conspiracy or something.
    Corporations are the ones who hire the illegals and corporations are the ones who bribe our government to not enforce the law. This is not even open to question.
    I think this bill sounds fine, but I do think we need a guest worker program.
    You don’t know what you are talking about. There is no labor shortage in the agriculture sector. You say these things merely to be spiteful.
    Here you go. Lets see if long links work.
    In a market economy, when something becomes scarce, you pay more for it. The average farm worker makes about half of what the average non-farm production worker makes, and real wages for farm workers have risen only about one-half of a percent per year, on average, since 2000. If there were a shortage wages would be rising faster. Moreover, farm worker wages have risen even more slowly in California and Florida, the states with the most fruit and vegetable production (the farm sector in which immigrant labor is concentrated).
    The falsity of the labor-shortage claims is also seen in the relatively slow progress of harvest mechanization. Much of the engineering is already done — there’s a lettuce harvester available that cuts the need for labor by 75-percent, while a robotic orange-picker is in the works that does the work of 10 men — around the clock.
    But, as Julian Simon wrote in The Ultimate Resource, “Even after a discovery is made, there is a good chance that it will not be put into operation until there is need for it due to rising cost.” With farm labor kept cheap by lax immigration enforcement, why bother to invest in a lettuce harvester?
    There’s even more industry scare-mongering around the issue of retail prices. Won’t fruit and vegetables become luxuries if they are picked by only legal workers? No. Just look at the government data on household expenditures. The average household spends $357 a year on fresh fruit and vegetables, of which the farmers receive $62, of which the farm workers receive maybe $21. If tighter immigration policies prompted farmers to raise wages 40-percent (as happened after the end of the “Bracero” Mexican farm worker program in the 1960s), and if all the extra cost were passed on, the total impact on the average household would be something on the order of $8.
    But mere facts can’t compete with feelings, can they?

  13. Also via NRO, there is this story in USAToday.
    “Without these programs, there are some years that we would have been in very, very dire straights,” (sic) said Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat elected last year who farms 1,800 acres. Along with his wife, he received about $232,000 from 1995-2005, according to Department of Agriculture records gathered by the Environmental Working Group.
    Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., says the system works well. He and his family’s farming interests received almost $2.4 million in federal payments from 1995-2005, records show. His net worth in 2005 was $1.7 million to $6.6 million, according to his financial disclosure statement. “He has firsthand experience of how this really benefits farmers,” said his spokeswoman, Angela Guyadeen.
    The days of the family farm are long gone. Farming today is a big business. A very well politically connected big business. The people getting rich off of subsidies and illegal labor are not Jed Clampett types working their forty acre spread which was passed down through ten generations. The zip code which gets the most money off of subsidies is in Manhattan!
    Clearly they are not farming there, but the shareholders and owners in big agribusinesses live in the big city. They don’t spend their weekends shoveling out the cowhouse.

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