immigration legislation, our last bite at the apple

On Thursday (05.22.08) the Senate voted again to put H. 4400 on special order and interrupted debate for immediate consideration on Tuesday (05.27.08)
                       
We worked on several bills this week, may good worthy projects, but the 1,000 pound orangutan in the middle of the chamber is immigration.
                              
Are there any “poison pills” or loopholes? So far, I haven’t been able to find anything worthy of voting against it. I’ve always voted against weak bills on immigration. We can’t take this issue incrementally, this is the last chomp at the apple. There is a very tender agreement with Senate & House Leadership with this amendment. Governor Sanford hasn’t weighed in publicly, but my sources say the office is cautiously optimistic.
                                     
I’ve been scrutinizing over the proposed amendment this weekend and am confident this is the best proposal we’ve seen to date. This bill mandates the strengths of the Arizona legislation. Why not pass the exact AZ law? The Arizona law’s main bludgeon is the revocation of the Arizona’s state license. SC does not have a state business license, so we created an “implied” license to hire. This virtual license is nothing any business needs to apply for or pay for, but this “license to hire” will be stripped if the employer fails to comply with the required verifications. AZ has no fines, yet the effects of the AZ legislation has caused voluntary deportation by illegals.
                      
Here’s some highlights. Here is a link to the complete summary compiled by Senate Staff. Since the actual amendment hasn’t been read across the desk, I’m going to refrain from publishing it as some “tweaking” may occur over the weekend, but stay tuned. When the final draft is introduced, I’ll let ya’ll know.
                   
-The proposed bill:
-creates a 24-hour website and hotline to receive and record information pertaining to violations of any laws or regulations by any non-US citizen.
-creates implementation phases depending on number of employees and whether or not the employer has government contracts. Verification will be required of all employers by July 1, 2010.
-creates a welfare verification process. E-verify cannot be used for any other purpose except for employment verification, so we have to use a different verification for benefits.
-creates a felony for harboring or transporting illegal aliens
-creates a need for registration of immigration assistance services. Don’t understand why businesses assisting employers need to register with LLR, but maybe helps enforcement.
-Makes it a felony to knowingly and willfully make, aid and abet in making, or solicit to make a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in any document in an immigration related matter while providing immigration assistance services.  A person convicted of a violation could receive a sentence of confinement of up to five years and a fine. 
-Expands jurisdiction of State Grand Jury to include immigration fraud
-Prohibits illegals from buying, selling, possessing, or transporting firearms. Sorry, but the Constitutional right to bear arms doesn’t apply to foreigners.
-Prohibits sanctuary and state preemption (sanctuary cities) 
                     
Penalties:
1st offense – suspend all business licenses INCLUDING the employer’s SC employment license, prohibiting it from doing business or hiring new employees for 10-30 days, terminate all illegal alien employees, and pay reinstatement fee up to $1000 (to cover costs of investigation and enforcement); 
2nd offense – suspend all business licenses INCLUDING the employer’s SC employment license, prohibiting him from doing business or hiring new employees for 30-60 days, terminate all illegal alien employees, and pay reinstatement fee up to $1000 (to cover costs of investigation and enforcement); 
3rd and subsequent offenses – revocation of business and employment license (5 year minimum), can only be reinstated after 5 years if employer terminates all illegal alien employees, goes on probation for 3 years and submits compliance reports, and pays reinstatement fee of up to $1000 (to cover costs of investigation and enforcement);