Is the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007 (H.R. 4088) a good piece of legislation?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
[Editor’s Note: The Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007, sponsored by Representative Heath Shuler (D-NC), died in the House of Representatives. The bill was reintroduced in the House in 2009 (H.R. 3308, SAVE 2009) and 2011 (H.R. 2000, SAVE 2011); both bills died in the House.]
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the US Library of Congress, in its summary on THOMAS titled "2007-2008 (110th Congress) H.R. 4088: SAVE Act of 2007," (accessed June 3, 2008) offered the following:
"Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2007 or SAVE Act of 2007 - Sets forth border security and enforcement provisions, including provisions respecting: (1) increases in Border Patrol and investigative personnel; (2) recruitment of former military personnel; (3) use of Department of Defense (DOD) equipment; (4) infrastructure improvements; (5) aerial and other surveillance; (6) a national strategy to secure the borders; (7) emergency deployment of Border Patrol agents; and (8) expansion of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism along the northern and southern borders...
Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to make the basic employment eligibility confirmation pilot program permanent. Sets forth conditions for the mandatory use of the E-verify system. Requires: (1) employer/employee notification of social security number mismatches and multiple uses, and related information sharing with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and (2) establishment of electronic birth and death registration systems. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) penalize specified employers for failure to correct information returns; and (2) prohibit employers from deducting from gross income wages paid to unauthorized aliens, with an exception for an employer participating in the basic employment eligibility confirmation program...
Provides for: (1) increased alien detention facilities; (2) additional district court judgeships; and (3) a media campaign to inform the public of changes made by this Act including a multilingual media campaign explaining noncompliance penalties."
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, in a website entry titled "Immigration Reform — What We Need and Where We Stand" (accessed June 4, 2008), offered the following:
"Before the Senate could proceed on the Secure America bill [commonly known as the McCain-Kennedy bill], the Republican House leadership moved forward on its own bill, H.R. 4437, introduced by the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (WI). The bill included only enforcement provisions, including building a 700-mile wall on the US-Mexico border; making being undocumented in the US a federal felony and barring anyone convicted of this felony from ever gaining legal status; and making subjecting to federal prosecution anyone who aids an undocumented immigrant in remaining in the US...
On May 25, 2006, the Senate passed S. 2611, also known as the Hagel-Martinez bill. This bill, negotiated against the backdrop of the immigrant rights marches that took place that spring, included a legalization program for undocumented immigrants in the US more than five years...
[T]he Democrats gained control of both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections... [and] in spring 2007, the Senate considered S. 1348, the result of a 'grand bargain' struck by Senators of both parties and the White House... The bill failed a key procedural vote on June 7. It was reintroduced as S. 1639 later in June, but failed again on June 28...
While the Senate remains deadlocked, the House is considering the SAVE (Securing America through Verification and Enforcement) Act (HR 4088). This bill focuses exclusively on enforcement, including increased Border Patrol personnel and detention space and a mandate that employers check their workers through the E-Verify program... The lead sponsor is North Carolina Democrat Heath Shuler, but most of the supporters are Republican."
Is the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007 (H.R. 4088) a good piece of legislation?
Heath Shuler, US Representative (D-NC), in a June 6, 2007 press release titled "Rep. Shuler Introduces Bi-Partisan SAVE Act - SAVE Act Secures America’s Borders, Provides Employers with Tools to Verify Work Eligibility, and Enforces Current Laws," retrieved from his official website, stated:
"Today Democrats and Republicans are joining together, putting politics aside and supporting a commonsense bill [2007 Save Act, H.R. 4088] that is for the good of America... Illegal immigration is one of the most pressing issues facing America today. It is estimated that over 12 million people are currently here illegally, and thousands more are coming in every week... Americans are very upset at their government for not taking action, and they have a right to be... I am introducing this legislation because I have the ability to reach across the aisle and bring both sides together to reach a commonsense solution. This is what the people of Western North Carolina want and what the American people want"
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), in a Nov. 20, 2007 Small Business Times letter from its Executive Vice-President of Public Policy, Dan Danner, titled "NFIB Supports Workable Immigration Reform," wrote:
"On behalf of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation's leading small-business advocacy group, I am writing to express our strong support for H.R. 4088, the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2007 (SAVE Act). This legislation takes into account the concerns small-business owners have with illegal immigration, and in particular, the employer verification sections strike a fair balance between increased enforcement and limiting the regulatory burdens placed on small business... Immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility, and small-business owners believe that Congress needs to fulfill its obligation to enforce our borders and provide a nation-wide employee verification system... Small-business owners feel strongly about enforcing our borders and creating a workable employee verification system, and we endorse your legislation."
The Washington Times, in a Mar. 14, 2008 editorial titled "Save the SAVE Act," wrote:
"Thanks to the energetic work of Republicans and some sober-minded Democrats, the House may indeed get to vote on immigration reform legislation worthy of the name sometime soon. The bill is the SAVE Act (H.R. 4088)... [It] offers a reasonable 'middle ground' solution — something between the sort of mass-amnesty solution embodied by last year's failed Senate immigration bill and the 'mass deportation' strawman conjured up by amnesty advocates. In the coming weeks, many rank-and-file Democrats will have to make a very difficult choice: carry water for Nancy Pelosi or respond to the legitimate concerns of their constituents."
NumbersUSA.com, an American population control advocacy group, in a website section entitled "The Campaign to Pass the SAVE Act to Remove the Job Magnet from Illegal Aliens," (accessed June 3, 2008), offers the following:
"Rep. Heath Shuler introduced the SAVE Act on November 6, 2007, emphasizing the principles of Attrition Through Enforcement... living illegally in the United States will become more difficult and less satisfying over time when the government – at ALL LEVELS – enforces all of the laws already on the books. It is also imperative that the government with the full cooperation of the private sector, implements certain workplace enforcement measures. The goal is to make it extremely difficult for unauthorized persons to live and work in the United States... Among many detailed border security provisions stressing more agents and better technology at minimal operating costs, the SAVE Act would... address the 'jobs magnet' by strengthening The Employment Verification Program (E-Verify) to close security gaps, address loopholes, and make it mandatory for employers."
240 national and local organizations, in a Feb. 14, 2008 letter to Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), offered the following:
"We write to express our solid opposition to the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act (SAVE Act), H.R. 4088... This bill not only fails to provide that, but in fact is a poison pill in the bloodstream of the American workforce. We join our voices from all over the country to urge your leadership in preventing this misguided measure from moving forward. At a time when economic uncertainty is spreading through our country, it is simply inconceivable that Congress may be considering a measure that asks every U.S. citizen to prove his or her right to work--and to prove it by relying on a verification system that has been repeatedly demonstrated to fail American workers and employers alike. If enacted, this ill-conceived proposal will lead to erroneous firings, discrimination, and exploitation of millions of workers, including U.S. citizens and legal immigrants wronged by the system's database errors and lack of safeguards... The SAVE Act weakens us as a nation and we urge you to fight vigorously against it."
The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, in a May 6, 2008 letter to Congress from Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, titled "Oppose SAVE Act Discharge Petition," wrote:
"The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) has been a strong and consistent voice for the entrepreneurial community on the issue of immigration reform... Unfortunately, enforcement-only measures will not work. Therefore, we strongly oppose the discharge petition on H.R. 4088, the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act (SAVE Act). This measure ignores the fact that our current immigration system does not adequately address the labor needs of consumers and businesses. H.R. 4088 also would worsen the current situation whereby America's small businesses are forced to take on the role of playing immigration police. That is the job of the federal government, not U.S. entrepreneurs..."
Church World Service, a cooperative ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations, in a press release titled "Stop the Anti-immigrant 'SAVE Act' - Call or Write your U.S. Representative Now," (accessed June 3, 2008), offered the following:
"The SAVE Act (H.R. 4088) would: Broaden the definition of 'alien smuggler' to include anyone who provides assistance to an undocumented immigrant. This would impact churches, humanitarian groups, bus drivers, and others who are in no way 'smugglers' but simply do not examine immigration status prior to helping people in need. Force employers to rely on an inaccurate verification system for all employees, without any safeguards against racial profiling, misuse, privacy, or error. Cost taxpayers billions of dollars to build fences and militarize our borders, which has proven ineffective and will do nothing to fix our broken immigration system... Divert local police resources from community safety and force them to act as immigration officers, which will result in racial profiling and unreported crime."
The American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF), in a Dec. 2007 report titled "The 'Secure America with Immigration and Enforcement' ('SAVE Act') of 2007 (H.R. 4088) Summary and Analysis of Provisions," stated:
"The 'SAVE Act' is an immigration enforcement-only package that would dramatically expand the error-ridden Basic Pilot electronic employment verification system and make a number of harsh and unnecessary changes to current law. The Basic Pilot system... would expand to cover over 6 million employers in just four years – roughly a 20,000 percent increase. Beyond that, the bill seeks to increase the Border Patrol and spend more resources on the southern border, codify recently withdrawn DHS [US Department of Homeland Security] regulations related to the Social Security Administration 'no match' letters, expand local police responsibilities to include immigration enforcement, and a number of other enforcement measures [...] [H.R. 4088] is an 'enforcement only' measure--ineffective at resolving the pressing problems associated with our nation’s broken immigration system."