The Bush administration will increase immigration enforcement by raising fines on employers who hire undocumented workers, tightening temporary-worker programs, and speeding up deployment of border agents, reports the Associated Press. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez are announcing the changes today.
Among items in the plan: Expanding the list of international gangs whose members are automatically denied admission to the country; cutting processing times for immigrant background checks; installing by year’s end an exit system so the departure of foreigners from the country can be recorded at airports and seaports. Employers will face possible criminal sanctions if they do not fire employees unable to clear up problems with their Social Security numbers. The Homeland Security Department will ask states to share their driver’s-license photos and records with Washington voluntarily for use in an employment verification system. “We shouldn’t have a patchwork of laws,” Chertoff said. “We should be doing a comprehensive federal solution, but we haven’t got that thing done.”