SAVE Act – H.R. 4088

MALDEF opposes the Shuler-Tancredo Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act (“SAVE Act”), H.R. 4088. The SAVE Act puts Americans in danger of losing their jobs by forcing all U.S. employers to participate in a deeply flawed employment verification system known as EEVS or E-Verify. Studies of E-Verify suggest that nearly 13 million U.S.-born workers and 10% of naturalized citizens are in danger of being fired because of database errors. Most of these errors would affect U.S. citizens.

H.R. 4088 also opens the floodgates for local police enforcement of federal immigration laws, which has been shown to make communities less safe by impeding free communication between local residents and police. The Act would also provide financial incentives of up to $100,000 to bounty hunters who report individuals suspected of assisting undocumented immigrants, including humanitarian and religious workers trying to serve the poor and sick regardless of their immigration status.

The SAVE Act would militarize our borders, national parks, and national forests. It calls for an increase of nearly 10,000 border patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, which it proposes recruiting from current and former members of the armed forces. But tragic incidents have shown that military forces trained to do battle in war zones are ill-suited to enforcing civil law within U.S. borders. For example, Ezekiel Hernandez, Jr., an 18-year-old high school student, was shot and killed by a team of United States Marines while he was tending his herd of goats in Radford, Texas.

H.R. 4088 is not just bad policy; it is bad politics at a time when Latinos, the fastest growing voting block in the U.S., are mobilizing to vote nationwide at unprecedented levels.

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Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund