Basic Pilot Extension Act
October 17, 2003
The Honorable Dennis Hastert
Speaker of the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Hastert:
I write to express our support for H.R. 2359, the Basic Pilot Extension Act. This legislation would extend for five years the Basic Pilot Program for employment eligibility verification – the process that requires employers to verify the work authorization of their new hires to prevent hiring of undocumented immigrants.
Since its inception, the voluntary Basic Pilot Program has provided a "safe harbor" for employers in the complicated and often confusing area of employment verification. While the law requires employers to verify documents for each hire that indicate authorization to work, the complexity of documents, the ease of forgeries and counterfeiting and the steep penalties against inquiring too far and violating a legitimate worker's civil rights make this area a potential quagmire for unsuspecting employers. The Basic Pilot allows employers to quickly and easily check with immigration and social security databases to verify eligibility. Many employers rely on this system to fulfill their legal obligations.
The bill, as reported by the Judiciary Committee, expands this Pilot, on a voluntary basis, to employers in all 50 states; the original pilot was in only five states. This will allow employers in all areas of the country to avail themselves of this program.
We urge you to pass this bill in the House as soon as possible to ensure the continuation of this program beyond its current sunset date.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce