Congressman David Dreier is promoting a new bill he announced this week that would introduce a new "fraud proof" Social Security card and heavy fines and jail time for employers who willingly hire illegal aliens. Dreier announced the The Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Social Security Protection Act
and claimed that this is not in response to the recent 2004 re-election campaign the he almost lost due to a regional campaign by conservatives against him
because of his immigration reform inaction. This bill would fit nicely with the upcoming Social Security arguments that are heating up right now.
San Bernardino County Sun
Anyone applying for a job would have to present the potential employer with an updated Social Security card that contains the person's photograph and an electronic signature strip.
"It is so simple and so foolproof," said T.J. Bonner, president of the Border Patrol employees' union, a key backer of the legislation. "No longer does an employer have to guess whether a worker should be working in this country."
Bonner said he expects to see a 90percent drop in the number of illegal immigrants from Latin American countries if the legislation is enacted. That, in turn, would free up Border Patrol agents to hunt terrorists and drug smugglers, he said.
I somehow doubt it would reduce it 90%, but it's a start if it can actually be enforced.
An easy argument against the card is that it could be viewed as a national ID card, which many civil liberties groups are against. In hopes of sidestepping this issue Dreier proposed adding, "This card shall not be used for the purpose of identification" to its front.
I doubt that is going to stop supporters of illegal aliens and open borders though and there are sure to be lawsuits instantly filed if this bill ever is approved by congress. Dreier was upbeat about the potential for the bill being approved by Congress saying that in the current times of potential terrorism it shouldn't have as much opposition as a similar bill he introduced that failed in 1996.
Employers would have to check a prospective employee's legal status against a new employment eligibility database either by swiping the card or calling a hot line. Those who fail to do so, or knowingly hire an undocumented worker, would face fines of up to $50,000 and five years in prison for each occurrence.
Known as the Bonner Plan - after T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council - the bill would also add 10,000 new Homeland Security agents whose only job would be to make sure employers are following the law.
This would be great if it actually works, is implemented, funded and enforced. 10,000 agents whose sole task would be hunting down employers who were violating the law would be excellent. The penalty is pretty steep too. Steep enough that a restaurant employing 5 illegal aliens would face $250,000 in fines and 25 years in prison.
The main problem with these types bills are that if they are actually made into a law they are rarely enforced. We currently have laws on the books for illegal aliens and they are almost never enforced. Illegals are caught and then released on their own with expectations they will show up for a court hearing in the future -- they almost never do.
I think the bill is a step in the right direction though and going after the employers is the way to start a crackdown on illegal aliens. I think the fines and jail time should be mandatory though. None of this "up to $50,000 and 5 years" because more than likely they will just get a slap on the wrist. Employers after all generally have enough money to hire decent lawyers to defend them.
At the same time, the legislation would work hand in hand with some type of a guest-worker program, he said.
"You're constructing a figurative fence around illegal employment. You have to put a gate in there to allow" for employers to hire foreign workers legitimately under certain conditions, Bonner said, noting he had reservations about parts of the guest-worker program proposed by President Bush.
The pro illegal aliens groups like Mexican Americans Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and La Raza have been pretty quiet so far, biding their time to see if the bill picks up steam or not before they attack it with a full frontal assault.
... Estrada said his group is wary of any law that sanctions employers and worries that Social Security clerks will have a tough time dealing with the vagaries of immigration law.
Yeah, after all a database that says "yes" or "no" to the electronically sent question of "Is this person legal to work here?" has a lot of vagueness to it.