April 9, 2009
Press Release
Today, the House began consideration of H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. A major component of the bill would require all employers to use a new automatic employment verification system, based on the current Basic Pilot Program which was authored by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) almost 10 years ago. Rep. Calvert has championed the Basic Pilot Program during his tenure in the House and the provisions in H.R. 4437 are based on H.R. 19, a bill sponsored by Rep. Calvert.

"It is about time that Congress consider an immigration bill that truly address illegal hiring practices, which is at the root of illegal immigration," said Rep. Calvert. "The bill being considered today and tomorrow in the House will improve our border security and reduce illegal immigration."

Rep. Calvert gave the following speech on the House floor:

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. I would like to thank Chairman Sensenbrenner and Chairman King for the remarkable job they have done to bring this bill to the floor today.

A mandatory electronic employment verification system must be a key component in any immigration reform bill worthy of that name. We can never gain control of our borders until we turn off the job-magnet that encourage people to flout the law. If illegal immigrants know that a job awaits them in the U.S., provided they can make it past the gauntlet at the border, no amount of border security will ever stop them.

Every employee already fills out an I-9 immigration form and presents documents confirming their identity and eligibility to work. Of course, the current system doesn't work because the documents themselves are easily forged and cannot be checked. The system proposed today simply requires that the information on the I-9 form be confirmed. It is non-discriminatory, easy to use, and will do more to stem the tide of illegal immigration than any other single provision.

Many people have commented on the mandatory employment verification system and some comments have missed the point. This system is all about ensuring a legal workforce by preventing document fraud during the hiring process. I believe that most employers are trying to do the right thing and hire only legal workers. Unfortunately, the current employment verification system does not give the employer enough information to be confident that their workforce is legal. Forged documents easily pass through the system without a problem, which leaves the employer with a dubious workforce, U.S. citizens and legal immigrants at a competitive disadvantage, and encourages the mass illegal immigration America is experiencing today.

Not only would this system strike a blow against document fraud, it would also reduce identity theft, a practice on the rise in the U.S. Just like credit card companies can flag unusual purchases to stop identity theft, this program would flag unusual behavior in the system, such as the same name and Social Security Number being used over and over. Who can be for document fraud? Who can be identity theft? This bill targets both which is why I urge my colleagues to support this bill.