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Gallegly Bill Would Require Secure Security Check for Critical Infrastructure Employees

Location: Washington, DC

Gallegly Bill Would Require Secure Security Check for Critical Infrastructure Employees

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties) today introduced a bill that would require employers at critical infrastructure sites, such as airports and nuclear power plants, to use a computerized system for verifying an employee's Social Security number.

The system has been in effect for several years and is available to all employers nationwide on a voluntary basis. Gallegly's bill would make it mandatory for employers at critical infrastructure sites.

Last month the Homeland Security Department arrested 57 illegal immigrants who used fraudulent Social Security cards and driver's licenses to gain security clearances and obtain work in secure areas of airports and other security-sensitive sites," Gallegly said. "This is easily preventable using a proven system that is already in place to match employee names to Social Security numbers.

Under Gallegly's bill, the Electronic Employment Verification Act, employers at federal, state and local buildings, military bases, nuclear energy sites and airports must use the electronic employment verification system, called Basic Pilot, to confirm an employee's employment eligibility.

The Homeland Security secretary could require other employers at critical infrastructure facilities to use the system as well.

Additionally, if an employer is subsequently notified that an employee's name and Social Security number do not match, the employer would be required to bar the person from the infrastructure and have his credentials and clearances revoked.

The bill also authorizes federal authorities to use the Basic Pilot system to enforce immigration laws, document fraud laws and the Social Security Act.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire or employ illegal immigrants and required employers to check the identity and work eligibility documents of all new employees. Because of the prevalence of counterfeit documents, the law has been easily circumvented. Congress responded in 1996 by taking a recommendation from the Immigration Task Force, which Gallegly chaired, to create a pilot program in which employers in selected states could voluntarily ask the government to check the Social Security numbers and alien identification numbers of newly hired employees. Last year, the voluntary program was expanded to all 50 states.

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