[Congressional Record: December 13, 2001 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
STATEMENT ON BASIC PILOT EXTENSION ACT OF 2001
HON. DOUG BEREUTER
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, December 11, 2001
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, this Member rises in strong support of
H.R. 3030, the Basic Pilot Extension Act of 2001. This Member would
like to thank the distinguished gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Latham) for
introducing the measure and the distinguished gentleman from Wisconsin
(Mr. Sensenbrenner), the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, for his
efforts in bringing this measure to the Floor. Additionally, this
Member would note that he agreed to co-sponsor H.R. 3030 but was unable
to do so under House Rules as the bill had been reported out of the
Committee very expeditiously.
Under H.R. 3030, the Basic Pilot Program, which is an employment
verification program, would be extended through 2003, as the original
authorization expired on November 30, 2001.
Mr. Speaker, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986
correctly prohibited employers from knowingly hiring illegal aliens or
people with non-immigrant visas. Unfortunately, at that time, Congress
did not give employers the corresponding tools with which to comply
with this Act. For example, due to concerns regarding discrimination,
employers are limited in the questions they may ask of potential
employees to verify if those individuals are authorized to work in the
U.S. If the employment verification documents that potential employees
produce appear to be legitimate, then employers must accept the
documents as legitimate without further inquiry of the potential
During Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) enforcement
raids, certain employers were found to have hired large numbers of
illegal aliens, either knowingly or unintentionally, and subsequently
they were subject to penalties. As technology has progressed to allow
for the cheap and quick production of legitimate-looking fraudulent
documents, the inability of employers to distinguish between valid
documents and fraudulent documents has significantly increased. It
became clear that businesses dedicated to complying with the IRCA
needed new tools to assist with the endeavor.
When the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
(IIRIRA) of 1996 was enacted, it authorized the creation of three
employment verification tools, including the Basic Pilot Program.
Initially, employers in California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Florida,
New York, and Iowa could voluntarily use the Basic Pilot Program to
compare the information received from potential employees with
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) databases to determine if
potential employees could be employed legally in the U.S.
Mr. Speaker, throughout the 1990's, many legal immigrants and illegal
aliens moved to Nebraska seeking jobs in the meatpacking industry.
Subsequently, this Member began to receive contacts from businesses in
his district concerned about their capacity to comply with the IRCA.
Therefore, on November 30, 1999, this Member joined his House and
Senate colleagues in the Nebraska Congressional Delegation in a letter
to then-INS Commissioner Doris Meissner requesting the extension of the
Basic Pilot Program to Nebraska. This Member continues to firmly
believe that providing Nebraska businesses with the tools to hire a
legal workforce is an important component in maintaining a stable
economy in the State and in meeting needs to effectively enforce
immigration laws in this country's interior. On March 19, 1999, the
U.S. Department of Justice granted Nebraska businesses access to the
Basic Pilot Program. Currently, about eight Nebraska businesses
actively utilize the program.
Mr. Speaker, for Congress to allow the Basic Pilot Program to lapse
following the horrific and unspeakable terrorist attacks of September
11, 2001, would demonstrate true negligence. More than ever, the U.S.
must fully enforce its immigration laws to protect its citizens from
future attacks. In its capacity to identify document fraud and illegal
aliens, the Basic Pilot Program can indeed play a role in the fight
In conclusion, this Member encourages his colleagues to vote for H.R.
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