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Joe Guzzardi Congress taking steps to deal with illegal immigration

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Joe Guzzardi

Posted: Saturday, March 5, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:18 am, Sat Mar 5, 2011.

Two recently introduced bills on Capitol Hill give a strong indication of how hard the road ahead during the 112th Congress will be for proponents of comprehensive immigration reform.

Coming fresh off a stinging lame duck session DREAM Act defeat, new immigration enforcement legislation initiated by a House Democrat and a House Republican prove that Congress has radically shifted away from amnesty and toward ending abuses like employment for illegal aliens and automatic birthright citizenship.

Representative Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., a pro-environment senior member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, understands the negative effect of high immigration levels on sustainability. His Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification and Illegal Immigration Control Act would make E-Verify mandatory. DeFazio wants to prevent illegal immigrants from competing with millions of unemployed Americans for scarce jobs.

The latest Department of Homeland Security statistics confirm what a useful tool the program is in identifying illegal immigrant workers. According to DHS, 97 percent of legally authorized employees receive an automatic confirmation within 24 hours and require no further action. Of the 2.6 percent who receive tentative non-confirmations, 0.3 percent are eventually cleared. The balance are not legally authorized to work in the United States.

Another House bill, this one Republican, is picking up steam. Iowa Rep. Steve King introduced the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 shortly after the new Congress convened. As of March 2, it has 68 co-sponsors, many of them newly elected and who campaigned on eliminating illegal immigration.

King's bill would amend the current U.S. code to require at least one parent to be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident in order for a newborn to receive automatic citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment grants Congress the power to enforce and define its provisions, including the interpretation of "subject to the jurisdiction thereof," the controversial language that many insist excludes the children of foreign nationals.

The two House bills along with Sen. Orrin Hatch's pending legislation that would eliminate the Diversity Visa and tighten up 287 (g), which authorizes the federal government to work with state and local law enforcement agencies to, when appropriate, detain immigration offenders, signal a new mood in Washington.

Politics is first and foremost about winning, and enforcement is clearly a winning political issue. As Capitol Hill transitions toward more enforcement, a dust-up could develop between Democrats and Republicans as to which party is the more committed to restricting illegal immigration. Both sides can correctly claim that their crackdowns help struggling American workers, and that by insisting on E-Verfiy they each are, therefore, the people's party.

As House Judiciary Committee chair Lamar Smith said in January: "With 26 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, expanding E-Verify would open up jobs that they need." To date, only 11 percent of the nation's 7.7 million employers use the program.

A recent example of E-Verify's value is headline news. The Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., which didn't avail itself of E-Verify, has had to fire hundreds of illegal alien workers in Minnesota and will likely dismiss hundreds more as the government's investigation of the fast-food chain expands into 60 Virginia and Washington, D.C. restaurants.

More firings at other industries will follow. According to sources at the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government has asked about 1,000 companies to turn over their employment records for review as part of an expanded Obama administration effort to thwart hiring illegal immigrants.

None of these enforcement victories will come easily. But politics is also about momentum. The DHS effort must have the tacit blessing of the White House which, seeing the inevitable trend toward enforcement, may be enhancing its 2012 resume.

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Contact him at

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  • Brian Dockter posted at 8:17 am on Mon, Mar 14, 2011.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2866


    How much of a double standard you may perceive this bill to be, I really doubt
    you would expect Texas to completely stifle it's economic engine. And yes, the Tea Party
    does have a part at this proposed bill. Once again you have failed miserably at advancing the notion that Conservatism is analagous to Heartless.

  • Dave Francis posted at 4:56 pm on Sat, Mar 5, 2011.

    Dave Francis Posts: 1

    "Give me your tired, your poor"--except now the tired and poor are draining the financial safety-net for US citizens and Residents? Except back at the time of an active Ellis Island there was no welfare and their was no need for immigration restrictions. Hey! But Utah is open to occupation as they have just passed a law, to bring in Guest Workers from another corrupt province south of the border. So all those illegal aliens that are dismayed with the State of Arizona policing laws, are leaving and going elsewhere? MANY STATES THAT HAS NO EFFECTIVE POLICING LAWS will also become an unaware target. Conversely, those States who are mandating the federal E-Verify computer data-bases operated by the Social Security and (ICE) Immigration and Custom Services to qualify true US workers will not be swamped with foreigners.

    Most States never hear the truth of the illegal alien importation, as the politicians are in collusion with businesses and other special interest. The Leftist press never reveals any of the facts about the assault on our traditions and society, using the race card if we make waves. If we offer negative dialogues about the invasion we are labeled bigots. While all the time "tired and poor" Americans are being crippled by higher taxes, to pay for the education, medical care and a other public programs. Now foreign nationals can skedaddle over to Utah as the Legislators are welcoming them. If they don't fancy Utah, the Sanctuary State of California still has a wide open welfare system, so they can start feeding off the taxpayers there. All these people need is a bogus Social Security number and Drivers license to collect hand-full’s of money and Democrat Governor Jerry Brown will leach that extra money from taxes or cut spending to legal residents. Some States are even thinking of rescinding the use of displaying drivers licenses, government ID, passports and other verification documents, to vote. This will be a major error for citizen voters, as this will become a loophole for illegal immigrants--intentional or not--to use fraudulent absentee ballots and in polling stations.

    In soft States the politicians will give out Section 8 housing, taken away from Senior Citizens who have worked all their lives. Never mind that these persons come to American penniless and the females have a 14th Amendment citizenship infant, requiring no insurance and burdening the emergency rooms—because the Liberal Court system mandated it. Guaranteeing the State taxpayers will subsidize the low income housing and all public services. The more children they conceive, the more cash payments they can accumulate. Texas lawmakers are suddenly feeling guilty of these reoccurring financial circumstances, because they too have been flooded for decades with a part of the 20 million foreigners from all parts of the world. California is the perfect place to inhabit, even though they a facing massive cutbacks in their economy, as they have a 24 billion dollars deficit.

    Nevada is hurting economically as well, as that State is overpopulated by illegal aliens with their families. The majority of other regions are painfully aware, that they too maybe visited by illegal squatters. Billions of dollars are going overseas and into Latin America from illegal labor here, to their families. The majority of phone books have a government listing of both federal and State lawmakers, who you can contact. This country is in deep trouble from public entitlements, especially from the free handouts nationwide to illegal persons. Take a few minutes from the pizza and football, to call your Representatives or join a local TEA PARTY. Your voice is a powerful ally in this unceasing issue and you need to understand future consequences. NumbersUSA is a formidable advocate against any anti-sovereignty, pro-illegal immigration and overpopulation. It also has clickable links to many resources and a free faxing buffet, to communicate your frustration and opinion to those in Washington.

    Utah's in for a traumatic shock, when the word gets out they are welcoming Guest workers from some Mexican province. Hundreds of thousands will pour in from not just South of the border, but thousands from Arizona and other illegal alien policing enforcement states. Thousands more economic illegal nations, will start flooding your schools, hospitals and looking for free welfare handouts.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 6:56 am on Sat, Mar 5, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Since the Obama Administration has stepped up investigations of employers who hire illegals, as in the Chipotle chain case, does the EVerify bill include provisions for increased penalties for hiring illegals if employers somehow skirt the EVerify system?
    If not, it should.

    Curious to hear Mr. Guzzardi's response to the Texas legislation that proposes to exempt illegal "household" help. Quite a bizarre twist - sounds like some legislators in Texas want to protect their illegal housekeepers and nannies.


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