Press Releases and Statements

Sensenbrenner Proffers Plan To Address America’s Illegal Immigration Problem

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Washington, DC, November 1, 2007 | Raj Bharwani ((202) 225-5101) | comments

Former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Menomonee Falls), introduced a bill today that offers real solutions to end illegal immigration. Among its provisions, Sensenbrenner’s bill includes proposals to secure our nation’s borders, crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, increase the penalties against people who smuggle in illegal immigrants, and double the number of H1-B visas issued each year.

In 2005, Sensenbrenner successfully placed immigration reform on the national agenda with the introduction of HR 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. Although the bill passed the House by a vote of 239-182, the Senate failed to act on it.

Since the introduction of that bill, Congressman Sensenbrenner has continued to play a leading role in the illegal immigration debate, by remaining undeterred from his fight for substantive immigration reform. Sensenbrenner’s efforts have not been in vain, as evidenced by Congress and the Administration’s acceptance of some of the features of Sensenbrenner’s 2005 bill during these last couple of years.

“America’s problem with illegal immigration did not end with November’s elections,” said Sensenbrenner. “While many of my colleagues have expended a lot of hot air discussing the issue this year, they have side-stepped the crux of the matter. In doing so, these people have continued to ignore the calls of the American public on this very emotional and complex matter.”

“In a survey I conducted this summer of the Fifth District, most of my constituents made it clear that they believe illegal immigration to be the greatest threat to the security of the United States today,” Sensenbrenner continued. “That means immigration reform is an issue that needs to be resolved now, not years from now, during the second term of a Democratic presidency, as has been suggested by Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.”

“To eliminate this threat to our nation, we must eliminate illegal entry,” added Sensenbrenner. “To do that, we must concentrate on tightening up our loose borders, and turning off the job magnet that attracts illegal immigrants to the US.”

Sensenbrenner’s new bill contains components of HR 4437. Highlights of the bill include:

  • Securing our border -- Strengthens border enforcement, by providing increased funds, and proper tools and training, while mandating detention and expedited removal of illegal immigrants apprehended at the border.

  • Holding employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants -- Decreases the prevalence of false Social Security Numbers (SSN) by mandating employers submit the SSNs of their workers to the Social Security Administration (SSA). In the event of a discrepant number, the SSA would notify the employer via a “No Match” letter, whereupon the employer would be required to verify the employee’s identification. Failure on the part of employers to act on this would result in severe penalties.

  • Cracking down on fraudulent forms of identification -- Makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to create fraudulent visas and other forms of identification by strengthening the penalties for those who are found with, or have aided in creating, fraudulent forms of identification.

  • Eliminating the distorted system of Congressional allotment -- Changes the current system which counts illegal immigrants as part of the total population when determining the number of congressional districts in a state. Illegal immigrants, who reside in the US illegally, should not be counted for the purpose of determining the number of Representatives assigned to a particular state.

  • Ensuring temporary agriculture workers remain temporary -- Reforms the H-2A visa program to ensure temporary workers do not overstay their visas by not permitting them to bring family members with them, and allowing the market to determine the number of temporary agriculture workers needed.

  • Doubling the number of H1-B visas -- Increases the quantity of H1-B visas for skilled workers to 130,000.

  • Increases penalties for illegal immigrant smuggling -- Establishes mandatory minimum sentences of one year for those caught smuggling illegal immigrants into the US.

“I have steadfastly fought for immigration reform since long before 2005. The bill I introduced today further fine-tunes my past attempts at immigration reform in order to better respond to the needs of the American people. While I expect members of the media -- most of who seem to be in cahoots with the pro illegal immigrant lobby -- to be critical of my legislation, I hope they recognize that my bill offers concrete remedies to a multitude of complicated issues that make this such a volatile and emotional subject,” Sensenbrenner concluded.


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