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States Drafting Their Own Immigration Reforms
 

   3/23/2007
 

While prospects for immigration reform remain uncertain in Washington, DC, state legislatures are moving forward with their own immigration proposals.  Nearly 25 states are considering bills that would compel employers to participate in the federal government’s “Basic Pilot” program, an electronic employment verification system administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

SHRM believes the Basic Pilot is unreliable and ineffective.  Recently, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the Basic Pilot was unable to provide employers with an accurate and timely initial response about potential new hires approximately 15% of the time.  SHRM President and CEO Sue Meisinger has said the Basic Pilot system is “incapable of meeting the needs of our nation’s employers or of protecting the public from identity fraud.” 

SHRM, together with major human resource organizations and thousands of U.S. employers from every sector, has launched the HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce, a national advocacy campaign to promote an effective federal employment verification system.  This approach also closely examines the ramifications of state imposed mandates and their conflict with proposed federal legislation.  Furthermore, SHRM has been working with its local chapter affiliates to advocate on behalf of HR professionals in opposition to mandated participation in the Basic Pilot program.   For more information about the HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce, please click HERE.

At the moment, participation in the Basic Pilot system is voluntary.  Most states favor requiring employers to participate in the program, with many threatening penalties or the loss of contracting privileges for those who fail to use the Basic Pilot.  Other states are considering a “liability shield” to protect employers from penalties if they unknowingly hire illegal workers while participating in the Basic Pilot program.   

SHRM has been working with its local chapter affiliates to advocate on behalf of HR professionals in opposition to mandated participation in the Basic Pilot program.   SHRM has issued HR Voice action alerts opposing bills pending in Rhode Island and Oklahoma.  Alerts may be issued for other states.

For more information about these and other public policy issues, please visit www.shrm.org
©2007 Society for Human Resource Management

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