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June 26, 2007
Immigration Debate Revived In U.S. Senate
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U.S. Senate voted 64-35 to continue debate on the controversial immigration reform bill after several weeks of lobbying by the Bush Administration to garner support in the Senate for the legislation. Today's vote means that debate on the bill and numerous amendments that have been introduced in the Senate will continue. However, the fate of comprehensive immigration reform is far from decided as it faces stiff opposition from conservative Republicans and another vote is expected on Thursday, June 28.

The legislation currently being considered by the Senate includes significant changes to the current system used to verify that an employee is eligible to work in the U.S. including:

  • New document retention requirements. Under the legislation, an employer must copy, sign, and date (and have employees sign and date) each document presented for review and retain all documents with the I-9.
  • An extension of I-9 retention periods. The legislation would require retention of I-9 forms for the length of employment plus 2 years, or 7 seven years from the date of hire, whichever is longer.
  • New mandates for employers that receive no-match letters from the Social Security Administration.
  • An extension of electronic employment verification. All new hires and current employees would have to be checked through the system.
  • A new certification of compliance program. The government could send orders to certain chief executive officers to conduct an internal review and certify compliance.
  • Expanded investigation and enforcement capability.
  • Expanded fines and penalties.
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