Democratic members of the House of Representatives Rules Committee refused to allow the full House to vote on securing military bases when they killed an amendment to require verification of the legal status of anyone who works on military bases or other sensitive federal facilities.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was offered by U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA). The Rules Committee must approve all amendments to be considered with the bill by the full House.
E-Verify is an Internet-based system that can be used to verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees. It does so by checking the employee's Social Security number and legal status against the Social Security database. For non-citizens, it also checks work authorization status against a separate Department of Homeland Security database.
"Every employer who uses E-Verify praises it as user friendly and, more importantly, employee and employer friendly," Gallegly said. "It's a quick, simple and accurate method of verifying an employee has a legal right to work in the United States.
"To not require it at secured military bases puts our country at risk. Naval Base Ventura County, in my district, is a high-security base where new anti-terrorist weapons are tested. Not only are contract workers at the base not screened for legal status, when base security apprehended illegal immigrants trying to enter the base to work, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents told base officers that ICE did not have anyone available to pick up the illegal workers.
"Only after I called ICE did they reluctantly send out agents to arrest the illegal immigrants.
"Even with this reluctance on the part of ICE to enforce our laws, ICE agents arrested more than 800 illegal immigrants at critical facilities across the country in fiscal year 2008.
"While many of the illegal immigrants are only trying to gain access to the base to work, it only takes one unscreened terrorist to attack our military. Because of their illegal status, illegal workers are also subject to extortion from terrorists or criminals.
"During my presentation on the amendment before the Rules Committee, Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), asked me why we needed this amendment. I replied that if we can't stop illegal immigrants from entering critical infrastructure facilities, where can we stop them?
"Without this requirement it is only a matter of time before a serious disaster occurs.
"The refusal to allow the full House to consider my amendment is part of a plan by amnesty proponents to give cover to the 10 million people working illegally in the United States and to weaken all avenues of enforcement. It comes on the heels of President Obama's announcement earlier this month that he is postponing implementation of a federal rule requiring contract workers at federal facilities to pass an E-Verify check.
"I am sure my amendment would have passed had the full House been given a chance to vote on it. That's why the amnesty proponents killed it."
The amendment was modeled on H.R. 138, a bill Gallegly introduced in January.