U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan Serving Wisconsin's 1st District

U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan Serving Wisconsin's 1st District

U.S. House of Representatives

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Ryan Introduces Employee Verification Legislation
Bill is Alternative to Big Brother Solutions

February 28, 2008

WASHINGTON – Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan introduced legislation providing enforcement tools to ensure a legal workforce and end document fraud and identity theft. The bill, known as the New Employee Verification Act, offers a secure and efficient way to protect employers from hiring illegal immigrants and protect employees from identity theft. One way to enforce our immigration laws and secure our country from illegal immigration is to stop undocumented workers from being hired illegally. While it is the employer’s responsibility to hire employees who are in the country legally, the current employee document verification system, based primarily on paper documents, simply does not work. As a result, many undocumented workers have been hired through the fraudulent use of someone else’s Social Security Number and identity.

The New Employee Verification Act would replace the current paper-based, error prone work status verification process with a paperless and reliable Electronic Employment Verification System (EEVS). This user-friendly system would allow employers to enter EEVS data through an electronic portal that has already been proven effective in enhancing child support enforcement. Employers that avoid and ignore the law would face much stiffer penalties. This verification system would be administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), avoiding unnecessary new bureaucracies. This bill also precludes the need for a new national database or a National I.D. card.

Additionally, the legislation contains provisions to fight identity theft. The bill creates an alternate and voluntary Secure Electronic Employment Verification System (SEEVS) to verify an employee’s identity and work eligibility and to give the employee the ability to “lock” their own identity once verified. SEEVS would establish a network of private sector government certified companies to substantiate identities by using existing background check and document screening tools. The system would also provide additional security with the use of a biometric identifier, i.e. fingerprints. These tools, while helping to ensure a legal workforce and securing worker identities, also prevents wages earned through future unauthorized work from being used to determine benefits.

“I firmly believe that ensuring a legal workforce and securing worker identities is essential to stemming the tide of illegal immigration,” Ryan said. “The issue of a legal, secure, and immediate employment verification system is far too important to leave to the honor system. Paper documents have proven too easy to forge and the time is now for a new, easy-to-use, and protected verification process. The New Employee Verification Act raises the accountability of employers while providing a tested and effective way to immediately authenticate an employee’s legal status.”

“Illegal immigration and identity theft are often one and the same. This bill will help Americans reclaim their identity without resorting to a new ‘big brother’, one-size-fits-all federal government database and national I.D. card. The nature of this proposal is to guard against both identity theft and any possible invasion of our privacy.”

Background:

Congressman Ryan has also supported additional legislation to stop illegal immigration, including establishment of the 287 (g) program. The 287 (g) program, provides state and local law enforcement with training and authorization to identify, process, and detain immigration offenders they encounter during regular, daily law enforcement activity. Also under this program, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides training for local designated officers. 

In addition, Congressman Ryan is a cosponsor of the CLEAR ACT, which would do the following:

  • Affirm that state and local law enforcement officials already have existing authority to assist in enforcing immigration laws during the course of routine duty.

  • Would deny SCAAP (State Criminal Alien Assistance Program) funding to "sanctuary cities" that refuse to assist with immigration enforcement. By acting as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants and preventing city officials from working with DHS, these local governments encourage illegal immigrants to break the law.

  • Would require DHS to provide the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) all information on illegal immigrants who have a final order of removal; who have a signed voluntary departure agreement; who have overstayed their visa; and who have had their visa revoked.

  • Authorize local authorities to procure equipment, facilities to assist in the enforcement of immigration law.

  • Authorize additional construction for detention space.

  • Require DHS to take into custody within 48 hours anyone who is in this country illegally.

Print version of this document Contact: Matt Lavoie 202-225-3031
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