Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"We have a real chance to solve the illegal immigration problem"

Although illegal immigration continues to plague the United States, few Americans are aware that some patriots in congress have introduced legislation to address the problem, “The Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act” [The act was introduced in 2007 by Representative Heath Shuler, Democrat from North Carolina] . The legislative effort has languished in the House under the leadership of speaker Nancy Pelosi and many in the Democrat Party who choose to take no action to stem the flow into the United States of what they see as potential Democrat voters. It’s no secret that the Democrat Party base is made up of those dependent upon the government and the huge illegal immigrant population certainly make up a large segment of the government-dependent community and, thus, likely future Democrats when amnesty is accomplished. Republicans going along with Democrats on this issue may foolishly believe their support of Democrat illegal immigrant policies will attract them to the Republican Party but that is not going to happen. Other Republicans supporting amnesty and the Democrat failure to protect our borders may do so in a misguided belief that this is somehow done to be “fair” are equally in error because these policies are not in the long term best interests of our country.

The Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007 (H.R. 4088) aims at reducing the presence of illegal immigrants in the U.S. through increased border enforcement and by bolstering several existing interior enforcement measures. While the SAVE Act does not address all of the problems in our immigration system, it tackles a major cause of illegal immigration—the ease with which illegal aliens obtain employment—by mandating the use of the E-Verify system. [That this approach succeeds is not empirical, it is actually working in Arizona and Okalahoma; see “Forget the carrot and stick approach, just eliminate the carrot” on]

The SAVE Act would increase border enforcement by adding technology, infrastructure and personnel at the border. It also provides grants to border towns and counties to assist with enforcement of criminal law. These objectives are accomplished by revising the alien smuggling and harboring provisions of INA §274.

The Act increases the use of technology at the border by:

- Developing and implementing a plan for the use of Department of Defense equipment at the border (SAVE §102(a));

-Providing border patrol agents with 2-way satellite communications and GPS positioning (SAVE §§102(c)&123(b)&(c)), sport utility vehicles (SAVE §103(a)(1)), access to helicopters and power boats (SAVE §122(b)), portable computers (SAVE §123(a)), night vision equipment (SAVE §123(d)), body armor (SAVE §124(a)) and additional weaponry (SAVE §124(b);

- Testing a program utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles, additional sensors and satellite command and control to oversee the border (SAVE §104);

- Acquiring other technology to establish a security perimeter — a virtual fence — along U.S. borders (SAVE §104(e)

- Targeting the physical infrastructure along the border by authorizing the construction of additional fencing in urban areas and vehicle barriers (SAVE §103(a) (4) & (5)); and

- Authorizing the construction or acquisition of additional detention facilities with a total of 8,000 new beds (SAVE §304).

In, addition, SAVE raises the number and efficacy of border agents by:

- Authorizing an increase in border patrol agents by a total of 8,000 over five years (SAVE §101(a));

- Increasing investigators dedicated to smuggling activities by 350 (SAVE §101(b)(1));

- Increasing the budget of the task force used to pinpoint smuggling tunnels by 50%
(SAVE §101(b)(2)); and

- Encouraging recruitment of former armed services personnel to work along the border
(SAVE §101(c)).

The act provides grants to local towns and counties to mitigate the impact of criminal activity by aliens crossing the border and to assist them in transferring illegal aliens to law enforcement authorities (SAVE §132).

SAVE significantly amends the alien smuggling and harboring provisions
currently in force by:

- Increasing many penalties for violation of the law;

- Adding penalties of up to 30 years where the smuggler or person harboring the alien either knew or had reason to know the alien was engaged in terrorist activity; and

- Removing statutory prohibitions (1) for conspiracy to harbor or smuggle an alien and (2) for aiding and abetting the harboring or smuggling of an illegal alien (SAVE §141).

SAVE would also create incentives for illegal aliens to repatriate to their home countries by reducing employment opportunities and making participation in the E-Verify electronic employment verification program mandatory on all employers within 4 years of enactment (SAVE §201).

Under the Act Federal agencies, federal contractors and employers with more than 250 employees would be required to comply immediately; employers with 100 or more employees would be required to comply in 2 years; employers with 30 or more employees would be required to comply within 3 years; and all other employers would be required to comply within 4 years.

Although employers are not required by statute to terminate an employee whose employment eligibility cannot be discerned by E-Verify, but they face a rebuttable presumption that it knowingly hired an illegal alien and therefore would have the burden of proving it had not violated the law.

To assist in enforcing the law, employers would have to inform employees for whom the name and social security numbers provided to the Social Security Administration do not match the Social Security Administration’s records that they must correct the no-match within 10 days or be terminated. (SAVE §202(a)). It would be also be required that any individual whose social security account number income has been reported by two or more employers to submit proof to the Social Security Administration that the individual is the person to whom the social security number was issued and that he or she worked for those employers.(SAVE §202(b)). Deductions would be disallowed to employers for wages paid to unauthorized aliens. (SAVE §211)

Two versions of Rep. Heath Shuler’s SAVE Act were introduced in the Senate by Senators Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu, both enlightened Democrats from Arkansas and Louisiana, respectively, and Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. The Pryor/Landrieu bill is S. 2368 and Sen. Vitter's bill is S. 2366.

Both the House and Senate versions of SAVE employ the principle of Attrition Through Enforcement, the premise of which is that living illegally in the United States will become more difficult and less satisfying over time when the government enforces all of the laws already on the books. It is also imperative that the government with the full cooperation of the private sector, implements certain workplace enforcement measures. The goal is to make it extremely difficult for unauthorized persons to live and work in the United States. There is no need for the government to spend billions of their dollars to round up and deport illegal aliens ; illegal immigrants will arrange their own transportation to go home if they can no longer earn a living here.

As I said before, we know Attrition Through Enforcement works because, in states that have passed tough new laws to penalize employers of and deny public benefits to illegal aliens, the illegal aliens began to move out of those states, often before the new laws are even implemented. Almost 200,000 illegal aliens self-deport from the United States every year, but one can expect many more would leave if our government refused to grant illegal aliens amnesty, mandated all employers to verify a person’s eligibility to work here, cracked down on identity fraud and enabled local police to easily transfer illegal aliens in their custody to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

I believe Attrition Through Enforcement is the true “middle ground” in the illegal immigration debate. President Bush and the rest of the open borders contingent constantly tell the American people that there are only two solutions to our nation's illegal alien crisis – give illegal aliens amnesty or round them up and deport them. This is a diversionary tactic to draw public attention away from the most effective solution for the illegal immigration problem.

All of us should get behind congressional approval of SAVE. As you can see from the parties of those who introduced the bill in the house and Senate, this is a bipartisan effort. Please contact your representatives and senators to call the bills up for action and encourage them to vote for its approval.

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