House passes tough immigration bill, calling for a fence on U.S.-Mexican border

Published 19 December 2005

House passes tough immigration bill with a series of unprecedented measures to curb illegal immigration

The House of Representatives voted in favor of a proposed security fence to be built along selected sections of the U.S. border with Mexico to deter illegal immigration. H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, passed the House by a vote of 239 to 182. The U.S.-Mexico border is 2,000 miles long. The bill “includes a requirement for the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a study on the use of physical barriers along the Northern border” with Canada. H.R. 4437 will combat the hiring of illegal workers by providing all employers with a reliable method of determining whether employees are legally eligible to work. The provision is modeled on legislation (H.R. 19) introduced by Representative Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) that makes mandatory an employment eligibility verification system which is currently voluntary. This program confirms or denies the authenticity of Social Security numbers offered by new hires. This legislation requires that all employers within two years will begin checking any new hires against this database and begin checking all hires within six years. H.R. 4437 also increases civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring or employing an illegal worker.

H.R. 4437 will end the “catch and release” practice, an obvious gap in our nation’s homeland security efforts. This year alone, some 120,000 illegal aliens from countries other than Mexico (OTMs) have been apprehended by the Border Patrol, only to be released due to a lack of detention space. H.R. 4437 incorporates H.R. 4312, legislation that was originally passed by the Committee on Homeland Security, requiring mandatory detention for all aliens who are apprehended at U.S. land borders attempting to cross illegally, by 1 October 2006, and requiring all illegal immigrants apprehended at U.S. borders to remain in custody until removal from the country.

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The details

Here are some of the provisions