Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has renewed his drive for immigration reform with a bill which includes securing the borders, cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and increasing penalties for people who smuggle them into the United States.
The new measure, H.R. 4065, expands an enforcement-first bill Sensenbrenner sponsored when he headed the House Judiciary Committee. It passed the House in 2005 on a 239-182 vote but did not advance in the Senate. "While many of my colleagues have expended a lot of hot air discussing the issue this year, they . . . have continued to ignore the calls of the American people on this very emotional and complex matter."
Other highlights include:
• $300 million annually for states and localities to buy items needed to enforce immigration laws.
• More Customs and Border Protection officers stationed at ports of entry.
• Employers required to submit workers' Social Security numbers to the Social Security Administration for verification.
• Employer required to verify the employee's identification on discrepancy. Failure to act would result in "severe penalties."
• Double the number of temporary visas granted every year to skilled workers.
• Reform the H-2A visa program for temporary or seasonal agricultural workers.