Gilchrest back on the issue of illegals, again

Yep, this press release came in my e-mail box:


U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-Maryland-1st) has cosponsored a bipartisan immigration bill that will give employers a key tool in helping to identify legal workers, as well adding manpower to patrol the border and agents to track and investigate illegal aliens that are already here.

Gilchrest signed onto H.R. 4088, (note: this is a 73 page bill) the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act. Introduced by Reps. Heath Schuler (sic) (D-North Carolina) and Brian Bilbray (R-North Carolina), the bill has 112 cosponsors.

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“Illegal immigration continues to be a major problem facing America and we need to address it in a bipartisan way with steps we can all agree will help and make sense,” Gilchrest said. “Employers need the right tools to help them hire legal workers. If we’re going to hold them accountable, we should at least be able to provide them with a system that works.”

The SAVE Act expands on a pilot program designed to give employers access to government databases that will quickly determine whether an employee is able to work legally in this country. The E-Verify program would become mandatory, and be phased in over four years, beginning with the federal government, federal contractors, and employers with over 250 employees. Smaller businesses would begin using the system in a graduated manner.

“This bill is important because it closes the existing loopholes that allow illegal immigrants to use the same Social Security number, and it will require information sharing between the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration and the IRS,” Gilchrest said.

The bill also addresses border security by increasing manpower and making needed technological and infrastructure improvements on the northern and southern borders, including 8,000 new Border Patrol agents.

It also will help enforce existing laws by increasing the investigative abilities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by employing more agents and training additional state and local law enforcement personnel. It expedites the removal of illegal aliens by increasing the number of federal District Court judges, and expanding detention facilities.

“I have continued to champion each individual component of this legislation, and this bill provides a more comprehensive package,” Gilchrest said.

After skimming through the bill, I can’t object to much in it. Perhaps the only quibbles I had at first glance was an overreliance on a virtual wall rather than a further call to build a true fence (although border fence maven Rep. Duncan Hunter is a co-sponsor as well), and the fact that it only authorizes funding in the out years – theoretically no money need be spent to adopt the additional border agents and judgeships that are part of the measure. I will also note that Gilchrest was among the last of the co-sponsors to sign on, having just done so November 15, 9 days after it was introduced.

But the news on the race is about so much more than illegal immigration now. First we have the news that was postulated by Brian Giffiths on his website and on Red Maryland back on November 19 and broken nationally by Roll Call today, an impending leap into the First District race by State Senator E.J. Pipkin. (I wrote on Pipkin’s dossier recently, and the Sun just placed up their version of the story.)

Next, a rumor is now going around (also courtesy of my cohort Streiff at Red Maryland) that Wayne Gilchrest is contemplating retirement. So this makes tomorrow night’s Gilchrest appearance at Salisbury University even more newsworthy since the question is sure to be asked. In fact, he has a full day on the lower Shore:

10:30 a.m. Visiting Bel-Art Products in Pocomoke City. Bel-Art is a leading manufacturer of products used in laboratories, and has been growing every year in Pocomoke.

11 a.m. Radio interview with the Mayor of Pocomoke City, Michael McDermott, who has a weekly radio program on WGOP, 540 AM in Pocomoke. This will be a taped interview.

11:30 a.m. Visiting Hardwire LLC in Pocomoke City and tour with officials from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). Joining them for lunch afterward. Hardwire is an exciting young company that manufactures reinforced material for buildings, bridges, and other applications. (This visit is closed to the media because of classified information.)

1 p.m. Visiting the Delmarva Discovery Center in Pocomoke with executive director Brian Garrett and meeting with members of Delmarva Low Impact Tourism (DLite) to discuss plans for Lower Shore.

3 p.m. Touring Peninsula Regional Medical Center with hospital president Alan Newberry and Drs. Lawrence and Julian, head of the medical staff, to learn about the hospital expansion.

7:30 p.m. Speaking at Salisbury University about his recent trip to Iraq and our Iraq policy. In the Worcester Room on the 2nd Floor of the Commons Building.

Tomorrow may be an exciting day in the Lower Shore political world and this weekend’s state GOP convention will continue the roll as candidates are sure to be pressing the flesh there.

Crossposted on monoblogue.

Late edit: someone doesn’t like Andy Harris. A hitherto unknown group called “Republicans Who Care” put out this attack ad against Harris. (They have the backing of, or at least hired, the media group that did the Swift Boat ads, Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm. Most of their clients have been among the more “moderate” Republicans.)

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