U.S. Congressman Sam Graves came to Kahoka and Memphis today to give a legislative update about immigration reform and issues of concern to small businesses. Speaking to constituents at Steve's Family Dining in Kahoka and Keith's Café in Memphis, Graves discussed legislation he has introduced to secure America's borders, clarify and enforce existing laws, and enable a practical employer verification program. He also talked about his efforts as the Chairman of the Small Business Committee to create an environment conducive to economic growth and job creation. Graves frequently travels throughout the 6thCongressional District to hear directly from residents and inform them of his efforts in Washington.
"Our primary goal in any immigration plan should be to control and defend our borders," said Graves, who has introduced theSecure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act (H.R. 830). "This is an important responsibility of the Federal government and we are not doing enough, as made evident by the over 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country. Additionally, our government must do everything possible to ensure the American workforce consists of legal workers, especially during these tough economic times, which is why my bill includes improvements to E-Verify."
Graves also highlighted the work the Small Business Committee is doing under his leadership. During the last Congress in 2011 and 2012, the Committee held 90 hearings and roundtables to both keep the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other Federal agencies accountable and improve and streamline resources available for entrepreneurs. The Committee will be holding several hearings this month to explore how to best reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and examine inefficiencies and duplication across Federal entrepreneurial assistance programs to save taxpayer dollars.
"As Chairman of the Small Business Committee, I talk to small businesses and hear about their challenges every single day," Graves, a farmer and small business owner himself, said. "Small businesses create 7 out of every 10 jobs in the United States. If we are going to turn our economy around and create jobs, we need healthy small businesses. The government does not create jobs, but we can help set the table for economic growth."
BACKGROUND: The Secure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act (H.R. 830) increases border security with the addition of 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and improves infrastructure with additional fencing and vehicle barriers at the border. It also enhances existing interior enforcement by increasing the number of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and expediting the process of removing illegal aliens from the U.S.
The SAVE Act also expands and mandates E-Verify to provide American employers with the tools they need to ensure that their employees are legally permitted to work in the U.S. E-verify is an effective, inexpensive, and quick way for employers to verify employment authorization. More than 200,000 employers already utilize the highly successful program on a voluntary basis.
The bill is also co-sponsored by Representatives Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi, Ralph Hall of Texas and Dana Rohrabacher of California. The bill has been referred to the House Homeland Security Committee.