Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) reintroduced his comprehensive immigration enforcement legislation that would mandate E-Verify nationwide, strengthen border security, and improves interior enforcement. The SAVE Act (H.R. 2000) was introduced with 36 original co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. This is the third consecutive Congress Rep. Shuler has introduced the legislation.
The SAVE Act would:
Within four years of enactment, all employers must verify employment eligibility for all employees through the E-Verify program, established as the Basic Pilot program in 1996:
- Federal agencies, Federal contractors and subcontractors, and large employers with more than 250 employees must verify new hires within one year of enactment;
- Employers with 100 or more employees must verify new hires within two years; and
- Employers with 30 or more employees must verify new hires within three years.
- Requires all employers to meet verification requirements on all employees within four years of enactment.
- Provides a safe harbor against sanctions for employers who use the system in good faith.
- Requires all employers to run their current employees through the E-Verify system
- Requires the Commissioner of Social Security to notify each employer on an annual basis about employees with account numbers that do not match the employee's name or date of birth
- Requires the Commissioner of Social Security to notify each individual if earnings from two or more employers are being reported under that person's Social Security number.
- Requires a national strategy to secure the borders and all ports of entry.
- At least 350 new ICE hires must be assigned to specifically investigate alien smuggling.
- Authorizes a 50% funding increase over the FY07 budget to increase size, improve communication, upgrade technology, and allocate information rewards money.
- Directs the DHS and Department of Defense (DoD) to establish a program for recruiting former members of the Armed Services and National Guard to join the Border Protection Service. Specifically recommends a $20,000 ($80,000 throughout employment) student loan repayment incentive and relocation/retention bonuses.
- Allows border state Governors to declare a national border emergency and request up to 1000 additional border agents.
- Increases the number of power boats and helicopters and requires at least one police-type vehicle for every four border agents. All vehicles must be equipped with safety glass, global positioning, and other protections.
- Creates a virtual fence along borders comprised of UAVs, drones, cameras, poles, sensors, satellites, radar coverage, and other equipment.
- Strengthens penalties against alien smugglers including imprisonment from 1 to 30 years depending on the type of offense; includes an exemption for religious institutions that authorize illegal aliens to serve as volunteer ministers or missionaries.
- Authorizes 1,150 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
- Authorizes 140 additional Criminal Alien Program (CAP) officers to identify and remove criminal aliens in federal, state, and local detention facilities.
- Provides 8,000 additional beds for holding illegal aliens and requires at least 500 beds in a family detention facility.
- Provides 13 additional federal district judges to expedite the removal process for illegal aliens: 4 for Arizona, 5 for Southern California, 1 for New Mexico, 2 for southern Texas, and 1 for West Texas.
- Requires Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Agriculture, and Secretary of the Interior to develop a border protection strategy for protected lands including units of the National Park System, National Forest land, land under control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, and other relevant land.
- Authorizes additional law enforcement officers to enforce the border in protected lands including 22 officers for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 22 officers for the National Park Service.