President: Rae Chornenky

Editor: Maria Jeffrey

This week on the Hill: 

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, 69-27.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has scheduled a vote on Thursday, May 9th, on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be EPA Administrator.

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What You Need to Know About the Senate Immigration Bill: Third in a Series

 

          In the past two weeks, the first two parts of the Senate immigration bill released by the "gang of eight" last month have been analyzed. The bill is divided into four parts, dealing with border security, immigrant visas, interior enforcement, and non-immigrant visa programs. Last week, Title II of the bill concerning immigrant visas was analyzed, and the eligibility requirements for an unlawful immigrant to apply for and receive provisional immigrant status are generous. Indeed, there are three groups of unlawful immigrants whose applications will be accepted almost prima facie: mothers with children, the disabled, and the elderly. This week, Title III will be analyzed, dealing with interior enforcement of immigration laws:

  • A great deal of interior enforcement mechanisms and procedures will rest on the implementation of the Employment Verification System (E-Verify). This title outlines the parameters and timeline of how E-Verify will become a program of required use by employers across the country.
  • First, the Title makes clear that the bill does not prohibit someone from hiring an individual with provisional immigrant status if he or she was previously an unlawful immigrant (396).
  • The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will set up and be in charge of operating the E-Verify system. DHS will take care of the work flow the system creates, any fraud detected by the system, and the security of the system (420).
  • Federal government agencies will have to use E-Verify, and they can start on the day this bill is passed or 90 days after the bill is passed (421).
  • Federal government contractors will have to begin using E-Verify as well (422).
  • One year after the date the Secretary of DHS publishes the regulations for implementing E-Verify, she can direct any person or employer involved in the "critical infrastructure" to participate in E-Verify. The "critical infrastructure" is defined in the Patriot Act of 2001 as "systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters."
  • Employers with more than 5,000 employees must implement E-Verify no later than two years after the regulations to do so are published. After they implement the system, all new hires and employees with expiring temporary employment authorization documents will have to be run through the system (423).
  • Employers with more than 500 employees must implement E-Verify no later than 3 years after the regulations to do so are published (423-424).
  • All other employers have up to four years to implement E-Verify after the regulations to do so are published (424). Employees that perform agricultural labor are excluded from being run through the system until four years after the Legal Workforce Act is enacted (424). The Legal Workforce Act of 2013 was re-introduced in the House of Representatives on April 26, 2013 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R.-TX), and referred to committee for further review. Only 11% of bills make it out of committee review.
  • Tribal governments get five years to implement E-Verify, after the regulations to do so have been published (425).
  • Employers can also implement E-Verify voluntarily (426).
  • If it has been proven that an employer has hired unauthorized immigrants, the employer may be required to run current employees, not just new hires, through the system (426).
  • If an employee has received a "nonconfirmation" notice through E-Verify, and chooses not to contest the nonconfirmation, it will not be considered an admission of guilt (437). In other words, if an employee is not verified through the system as someone who can lawfully work in the United States, and the employee chooses not to fight it, he or she will not be considered guilty of violating any law.
  • Individuals will be able to "self-verify" by contacting the appropriate agency (448).
  • If an employer is found to routinely hire unlawful immigrants, he or she has to pay civil penalties and fines that increase by degrees depending on how many times they have been proven to hire unlawful immigrants or fail to use E-Verify (480-482).
  • This bill will allow millions of current unlawful immigrants to one day be citizens and therefore eligible for social security benefits. Therefore, Title III of the bill also mandates the Social Security Administration to issue new Social Security cards that are fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear-resistant, and identity theft-resistant five years after this bill is passed (504-505). This will cost $1 billion for FY 2014, or until the funds are used.

Americans Could have Been Saved in Benghazi Attack

 

             Gregory Hicks, the man who became the top U.S. diplomat in Libya when Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in the Benghazi attack and who was in Tripoli at the time, has stated that a special operations team was ready to fly after Stevens was killed but before any other Americans were killed. However, as the team headed to the airport, they received a call from Special Operations Command telling them "you can't go now; you don't have authority to go now."  In fact, after Stevens had died, the Libyan Prime Minister prepared to fly their C-130 to Benghazi to carry additional military personnel as reinforcements but, with the call from the Special Operations Command, the Libyan C-130 was not able to leave until after all four Americans were dead.

 

            Hicks said in an April 11 interview that the administration could have saved lives that night and may have undermined subsequent criminal investigations with its talking points that contradicted accounts provided by the Libyan government.  He added his belief that the administration could have saved diplomats' lives if it had dispatched even one aircraft, noting that the naval base in Souda Bay, Crete was only an hour away.  Hicks also expressed outrage at Obama's ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice's comments just five days after the attack that the attack may have been linked to a peaceful protest where, as Hicks pointed out, she contradicted Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf who told CBS News that the attack was "pre-planned, predetermined" by militants with ties to Al-Qaeda. 

 

Hicks and two other career diplomats with direct knowledge of the September 11, 2012 attack are scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee.

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