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Immigration Reform

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This week, the U.S. Senate again decided not to continue debate on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, S. 1639. This was the second failed attempt in less than a month to get the necessary 60 votes to "invoke cloture" and move to a final vote within a limited time period.

The Senate's decision to end consideration of the bill effectively eliminates the possibility that Congress will enact comprehensive immigration reforms this year. However, some believe Congress may still attempt to pass a few incremental reforms in 2007 - 2008.

Of interest to the HR community, S.1639 would require all employers to verify the legal work eligibility for employees using a version of the electronic employment verification system known as Basic Pilot. Although SHRM supports an electronic verification system, the Society raised serious concerns about the feasibility, fairness and effectiveness of the verification system contained in the Senate bill.

"While we supported the process, the Senate immigration bill lacked critical provisions necessary to ensure a legal workforce," said Susan R. Meisinger, President and CEO. "As Congressional leaders consider next steps, we urge both the House and Senate to recognize that employment verification is the most essential part of effective immigration reform."

"We urge Congress to adopt a safe, reliable and equitable system that meets the needs of employers and employees," Meisinger said. Click HEREto read SHRM's statement.

SHRM has been advocating a secure electronic employment verification system that would verify employee identity through the use of additional background checks and state-of-the-art technology, such as the voluntary use of biometrics or other theft-proof methods.

As the founding leader of the "HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce" coalition, SHRM will continue to advocate that the most critical element for true reform is an effective, secure, efficient system to verify work eligibility and will work with congressional leaders and others on this goal.


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