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Q&A: Impact Of New State, Federal Immigration Laws

With the recent passing of high-profile immigration laws in several states, professionals in the field are more concerned than ever with issues involving proper identification and documentation. The Immigration Sectionspoke with Julie Kirchner, Executive Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and NNA Immigration SectionAdvisor, about the impact of state immigration legislation, the goals of federal anti-fraud initiatives, and the value of E-Verify to employers. 

New anti-immigration laws have passed in many states recently, including high-profile laws in Alabama and Arizona. Do you see this state-by-state legislation as a continuing trend?
Yes, it is definitely a continuing trend. We’re seeing growing interest from law enforcement jurisdictions across the country in enforcing immigration laws at the state level, and lots of bills are currently traveling through states, as well. We continue to hear from state legislatures that these issues are very important to their constituents.

Do you anticipate an increase in ID theft or other types of fraud as a result of these laws?
We were seeing a huge rise in identity theft even before the legislation. Notaries, and anyone who deals with important documents, will have to continue to look carefully at IDs, passports, and all of the documentation that is widely used to establish work eligibility. New laws that mandate the use of E-Verify, such as the one in Alabama, actually target individuals who use false IDs to gain employment. So, one could argue that the laws may actually help fight identity theft.

This month, the Federal government announced a multi-agency crackdown on Notario fraud. What do you think of this initiative?
We very much support the efforts at the federal level to go after fraud wherever it exists. No one should ever be the victim of crime. Immigration lawyers promise everything under the sun, and unfortunately, people who really want to stay in the U.S. are sucked into very bad schemes.

What do you see as national implications of the Alabama law and other laws of its kind?
State and local laws are placing more and more pressure on Congress to act on these issues. This week alone, two very important E-Verify bills were introduced, proposing that all employers in the U.S. be mandated to use E-Verify in their hiring practice. E-Verify has a fabulous record for reducing fraud, and employers who use it report that they are very pleased with it.

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