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Immigration Reform…A Step Forward – S. 744 Passes in the Senate

Over the past several months, Congress has spent a considerable amount of time and effort creating comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation. After much debate, S. 744 passed the Senate on June 27, 2013 with a vote of 68 to 32. The resultant legislation, S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, will tighten border security, create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, establish a new guest worker program, transition to a more merit-based legal immigration system, require mandatory usage of E-Verify by employers and reform visa programs. 

ADP recognizes the impact this legislation may have on employers of all sizes. To help familiarize you with S. 744, the following are some of the key provisions:

  • E-Verify. The bill would require all U.S. employers to participate in the E-Verify program for newly hired employees and employees with expiring temporary work authorization documents. The E-Verify program requires employers or their designated agents to verify that an employee is authorized to work in the U.S. through a database maintained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).The E-Verify mandate would be rolled-out based on a company’s size:
    • Two years after regulations are released for companies with more than 5,000 employees;
    • Three years after regulations are released for companies with more than 500 employees; 
    • Four years after regulations are released for all companies.
  • I-9. Six months after enactment, the Secretary of Homeland Security will be required to produce a new I-9 form to meet the bill’s requirements, which include a revised list of acceptable employee documentation. Additionally, for the first time, employers will be required to match the photo on an employee’s identification documents to a photo in a USCIS database. The form must be able to be completed electronically, via telephone, video conference, on paper or integrated with the E-Verify system.
  • Exit tracking. No later than December 31, 2015, the Secretary of Homeland Security will be required to establish a mandatory exit data system for aliens that exit from air and sea points of entry. The system must be able to collect data from visas, passports and other travel and entry documents.

Additionally, no later than two years after enactment, the Department of Homeland Security will be required to establish a mandatory biometric exit data system at the ten busiest U.S. airports for international travel. Six years after enactment, this system must be expanded to 30 “core” airports, and a plan must be developed to expand the system to all major sea and land points of entry.

With the Senate vote complete, S. 744 now resides with the House, where it is likely to face further debate and action. The House Judiciary Committee has already adopted a “piecemeal” approach, beginning consideration of a series of smaller bills addressing various components of comprehensive reform, including enforcement and guest workers.

Further communications will be published as more information regarding S. 744 becomes available. Click here to read more about this: legislation.

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