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Immigration Reform

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Senators Kyl and Kennedy

This week, a bipartisan group of senators led by Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and John Kyl (R-AZ) and supported by the Bush Administration, released a comprehensive proposal for immigration reform. While this proposal helps move the immigration debate, SHRM has serious concerns about several issues including the employment verification provision.

The Senate will begin floor consideration of this proposal as early as Monday, May 21.

SHRM and the HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce coalition (which the Society established and leads) are advocating that significant changes be made to the proposal. Among the most troubling parts of the Senate plan are:

  • Mandating use of the "Basic Pilot" program. The proposal would require all 5.6 million employers to use the "Basic Pilot" employment verification system for all new hires, without first ensuring reliability and accuracy of the databases being used.
  • Lack of proven reliability. Creating a mandatory electronic employment verification system is a step in the right direction. However, it will not provide certainty to U.S. employers, large or small, who should not be held liable for differentiating among stolen, fraudulent and counterfeit identity documents.
  • Broad liability for employers. The proposal would hold employers liable for the hiring actions of contractors and subcontractors, even if the employer has no knowledge or control over a contractor's actions.
  • Re-verification of existing employees. The Senate proposal would require all employers to re-verify the identity and employment eligibility of all previously hired employees, thereby creating a costly administrative and record-keeping burden for all U.S. employers.
SHRM's Sue Meisinger

SHRM and the HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce coalition are continuing to push for enactment of a new employment verification program that is fair to employers and employees and relies on state-of-the-art technology to ensure accuracy. SHRM President and CEO Sue Meisinger published an opinion essay in The Politico, a popular newspaper on Capitol Hill, describing the Society's position and how a new system would work. Click hereto view article.

On Monday, May 21 at 4 PM (ET), SHRM will convene a LIVE webcast for members interested in learning more about the Senate immigration reform proposal and how it will impact HR professionals. For information about accessing this webcast, please complete the registration form.


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