Democrats Put Forth Immigration Reform Proposal

May 7, 2010 ( – A group of democratic senators have announced the Real Enforcement with Practical Answers for Immigration Reform (REPAIR) Proposal, a 26-page framework for immigration reform.

The main themes of the proposal include improving control of the borders to prevent illegal immigration, using biometrics employment verification, and requiring registration of unauthorized aliens presently in the U.S., according to law firm Jackson Lewis.  

The proposal includes a mandate that the Social Security Administration begin issuing biometric social security cards no later than 18 months after the date of enactment.  Cards would be fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear resistant, and machine-readable social security cards and will contain a photograph and an electronically coded micro-processing chip that has a unique, biometric identifier for the authorized card-bearer.    

Only possession of a fraud-proof social security card would serve as evidence of lawful work-authorization.  Prior to issuing an individual a new fraud-proof social security card, SSA would be required to verify the individual’s identity and employment eligibility by asking for production of acceptable documents to be provided by the individual as proof.  

In addition, the proposal would create a new employment eligibility verification system (Biometric Enrollment, Locally-stored Information, and Electronic Verification of Employment (BELIEVE) System) to replace E-Verify. There would be strict employer penalties for failure to participate in the BELIEVE system.  Prospective employees would present a machine-readable, fraud-proof, biometric social security card to their employers, who would swipe the cards through a card-reader to confirm the cardholder’s identity and work authorization.   

The BELIEVE system would become fully operational after six years.  Within five years of the date of enactment, the fraud-proof social security card would serve as the sole document acceptable for employment verification purposes. The proposal allows employers to use government-certified private companies to perform employee employment verification.  The U.S. Post Office or other government offices would serve as alternative verification providers for employers who do not possess electronic scanning capability.      

The proposal authorizes the creation of the Commission on Employment-Based Immigration to study America’s employment-based immigration system to recommend policies that promote economic growth and competitiveness while minimizing job displacement, wage depression, and unauthorized employment.  

The proposal also includes measures to modify higher-skilled and lower-skilled worker programs.  

Details about the proposal are here.