Current law prohibits employers from taking on and retaining illegal immigrants, and it provides for sanctions against employers who do not obey. Employers are required to obtain proof of the citizenship of employees, which they typically do through the applicant’s social security card. A major purpose of this law is to limit the number of job opportunities available to illegals, and thus to reduce the number of illegals who will enter the country in search of such opportunities. Needless to say, the law is often honored in the breach.
Virtually every public figure who opines on the issue of illegal immigration calls for enforcement of this employer enforcement/sanctions approach. Democrats, in particular, like to do so because it enables them to sound tough on illegal immigration (and, of course, on business) without having to embrace new and more hard-core enforcement measures.
The Bush administration, which also seems not terribly fond of such new measures, wants to attach some teeth to the existing employer sanction regime. Apparently, under current rules, when an employee’s social security number does not match a name on a tax or employment eligibility document, the government sends a “no-match” letter to the employer asking that the discrepency be resolved. Reportedly, somewhere around 10 percent of the employees as to whom the government receives reporting information have names that do not match their social security number.
The Bush administration has proposed guidelines that would require employers to fire employees who can’t resolve the discrepency, and that would subject non-complying employers to prosecution. The Department of Homeland Security has proposed regulations to this end. Meanwhile, Cintas, the nation’s largest uniform supplier, has sent letters to 400 employees telling them that they will be suspended indefinitely if they cannot resolve their mismatched social security number with 60 days.
Enter Rep. Bennie Thompson (D. Miss.) who is in line to become chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Thompson has warned Cintas that it may face criminal charges if it fires any employee for presenting false social security numbers in order to obtain employment. Thompson says he’s concerned that the immigrant community is the target of “potentially discriminatory actions.” But, inasmuch as Cintas provides the “targets” with the opportunity to explain their situation, the only discrimination it contemplates would be against illegal aliens who lied to get their jobs. The fact that this bothers the chairman to-be of the House Homeland Security Committee bothers me. Thompson, by the way, reportedly visited the Grand Cayman Islands courtesy of Jack Abramoff in 1997.
Alcee Hastings has lost his chance to run the House Intelligence Committee. But when it comes to sketchy, clueless liberals to run important congressional committees, the Democrats have a deep bench.
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