Thursday, March 14, 2013

SAVE Act an Important Step Towards Immigration Reform

Almost as though Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri took some cues from Arizona and Texas state level legislation, HR 830, "The SAVE act of 2013", proposes some initial steps towards immigration reform.

The first step in any immigration reform program is to increase border security and improve tracking and verification systems. Those tracking and verification systems are necessary to insuring that lawful immigrants, individuals with work visas, and resident aliens enjoy all the rights and freedoms they seek. They are going through the process the proper and legal way and deserve to not have their efforts infringed upon. Many proposed programs could potentially infringe on those and deter legal and proper immigration. Most Americans highly support proper and legal immigration of good people to our great country.

The SAVE Act suggest numerous reforms. It includes expanded resources, manning, and equipment for the US Border Patrol.

The act includes clearer, more defined crimes committed by illegal aliens. In doing so, it restructures the crimes, allowing more dangerous ones to result in harsher punishments. It defines acts of human trafficking that support terrorism. It addresses human trafficking for slavery purposes. It imposes clearer penalties for drug trafficking and weapons trafficking. It increases aggravated penalties for crimes that directly involve children.

Among one of the better provisions of the bill is the proposal to expand and better fund electronic and digital immigration, residency, and citizenship status databases currently called "E-Verify". The bill further proposes to mandate employers use the program, establishing criminal penalties for failure to do so.

 Here is an excerpt from that portion of the bill:

SEC. 201. MANDATORY EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION VERIFICATION.

    (a) Making E-Verify Program Permanent- Section 401(b) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1324a note) is amended by adding before the period at the end of the last sentence the following `, except that the E-Verify Program described in section 403(a) shall be a permanent program'.
    (b) Mandatory Use of E-Verify System-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), every person or other entity that hires one or more individuals for employment in the United States shall verify through the E-Verify Program, established by section 403(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (division C of Public Law 104-208; 8 U.S.C. 1324a note), that each such individual is authorized to work in the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that verification by means of a toll-free telephone line is an available option in complying with the preceding sentence.
      (2) SELECT ENTITIES REQUIRED TO USE E-VERIFY PROGRAM IMMEDIATELY- The following entities must satisfy the requirement in paragraph (1) by not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act:
        (A) FEDERAL AGENCIES- Each department and agency of the Federal Government.
        (B) FEDERAL CONTRACTORS- A contractor that--
          (i) has entered into a contract with the Federal Government to which section 2(b)(1) of the Service Contract Act of 1965 (41 U.S.C. 351(b)(1)) applies, and any subcontractor under such contract; or
          (ii) has entered into a contract exempted from the application of such Act by section 6 of such Act (41 U.S.C. 356), and any subcontractor under such contract.
        (C) LARGE EMPLOYERS- An employer that employs more than 250 individuals in the United States.
      (3) PHASING-IN FOR OTHER EMPLOYERS-
        (A) TWO YEARS FOR EMPLOYERS OF 100 OR MORE- Entities that employ 100 or more individuals in the United States must satisfy the requirement in paragraph (1) by not later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act.
        (B) THREE YEARS FOR EMPLOYERS WITH 30 OR MORE EMPLOYEES- All entities that employ 30 or more individuals in the United States must satisfy the requirement in paragraph (1) by not later than three years after the date of the enactment of this Act.
        (C) FOUR YEARS FOR ALL EMPLOYERS- All entities that employ one or more individuals in the United States must satisfy the requirement in paragraph (1) by not later than four years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Hopefully this bill telegraphs a common sense plan to deal with the illegal aliens already in the US in the near future. Another key portion to immigration reform will be a plan to streamline the process of legally immigrating so that it is easier for good, law-abiding people to immigrate to our great nation.