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Obama Announces Plan for Immigration Reform; Proposes Modifications to E-VerifyFriday, May 13, 2011
(American Meat Institute)
President Obama this week announced his plan
for comprehensive immigration reform. The
administration’s plan includes four
parts: increased border security,
accountability for businesses who hire
undocumented workers, reforming the visa system
to expand the legal immigration system and a
plan for bringing those in the U.S. illegally
into the legal system.
The plan also proposes several modifications to the current E-Verify system including:
• Phasing in mandatory use of the E-Verify system over a multi-year period in conjunction with a program that requires the undocumented population to get right with the law. Employers with more than 1000 employees would be required to join the system first, with additional phases that add more employers in succeeding years. Some small businesses could be exempt from using the E-Verify system;
• Establishing a standardized process for efficiently reviewing cases when the E-Verify system is unable to confirm a worker's authorization status, giving employees prompt notice of the problem and adequate time to correct their records;
• Revising and expanding anti-discrimination provisions of immigration law and providing more comprehensive anti-retaliation protections;
• Increasing civil penalties for
employers who knowingly hire unauthorized
workers, violate anti-discrimination
provisions, and engage in retaliation against
• Providing a “safe harbor” for employers who employ undocumented workers, if the E-Verify system inaccurately confirmed their work authorization;
• Improving administration and coordination between the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the two federal agencies managing the E-Verify system;
• Providing clearer criminal provisions and more comprehensive penalties for fraudulent use or acquisition of a Social Security card;
• Continuing to improve Social
Security cards to make them fraud or
wear-resistant. SSA would need sufficient
resources and time to prepare for a multi-year
phased-in approach given the additional work
caused by expansion of the program.
Additionally, any changes should not be paid
for by drawing from SSA trust or benefit funds;
• Piloting the development of a biometric identifier that could be potentially used for employment verification in the future.
“The meat industry has been involved in the E-Verify program since its inception and supports efforts to achieve a practical and functional worksite electronic employment verification system and the necessary tools to secure our nation’s borders,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. “AMI has supported the E-Verify program and has advocated for improvements to strengthen the system. We are encouraged by the president’s recent statements to improve this important tool and we look forward to continuing our work with the administration on this issue.”
For more information on the president’s proposal, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration.