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Access Washington - Weekly Immigration Update

New America Media, News Digest, Wendy Sefsaf Posted: Apr 14, 2008

Editor's Note: NAMs Access Washington Weekly Immigration Update is a column summarizing key developments in the immigration debate. This column is produced by New America Medias Washington, D.C., office.

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SAVE Act Would Cost $40 Billion

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued an analysis of what the costs would be to implement a nationwide employment verification system. The cost is estimated at $40 billion, in addition to the losses the US Government would experience as more workers are paid outside of the tax system. The report was developed to analyze the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act of 2007, a bill introduced by Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.). The bill would mandate the businesses use that employment verification system known as "E-Verify. It is anticipated that the CBO report will slow support for the new law. The analysis can be found here.

Commission, including Senator Kerry, Holds Hearing on ICE Raids

A U.S. commission heard complaints last week that federal agents violated illegal immigrants' constitutional rights and treated them inhumanely during recent immigration raids. The union-backed commission hearing on ICE Misconduct and Violations of Fourth Amendment Rights, met in Boston. Representatives from ICE refused to testify. Immigrant advocates complained that federal officials mistreated undocumented workers when raiding New England businesses. "We all understand that ICE does important work," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. "But the way that they conduct workplace raids and detain people does not meet the standards of the United States of America." Kerry has filed legislation mandating that detained immigrants have adequate medical care and legal counsel, as well as childcare. A commission report is due in the summer of 2008.

Congressmen take DHS's waiver authority to Supreme Court

Three years after Congress granted the federal government waiver authority, 14 congressmen are challenging how it is being used to construct a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., leads a group filing a brief in U.S. Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the DHS waivers. Waivers filed by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff would suspend more than 30 laws, which Chertoff said interfere with "the expeditious construction of barriers." The brief challenges DHS plans to suspend important environmental laws. At the same time, eight landowners in Hidalgo and Starr counties, Texas, remain engaged in federal court battles to try to stall government efforts to survey and cease their properties.

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