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from Rep. Eric Watson

On Wednesday [2/16/2011] myself and others unrevealed a comprehensive plan to combat illegal immigration in Tennessee. The plan calls for three distinct principles to address different areas of the law that need to be strengthened in order for private businesses and State and local law enforcement agencies to have the authority to effectively deal with illegal immigration.

I believe the plan is the best way to bring a Tennessee solution to a Tennessee problem. By taking a comprehensive approach targeting three distinct areas of the law, the reforms would place Tennessee at the forefront of state efforts to combat illegal immigration and provide a blueprint for other states to follow.
Here are the details of the respective bills. Under the "Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act" (House Bill1380) reforms include:

* In the course of a lawful stop, State and local law enforcement must determine the legal status of the individual in question.

* Upon determination of the status and if th individual is determined to have unlawful status, authorities must detain and turn over the individual to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). For the "Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act" (House Bill1379) the reforms provide that:

* State agencies are authorized to verify the lawful status of an alien in Tennessee.

* Any person found to be an unlawful alien is prohibited from receiving any benefits. Finally, under the "Tennessee Lawful Employment Act" (House Bill 1378) the act will:

* Require all employers-both public and private-to submit the names and Social Security numbers of employees hired after October 1, 2011 to the federal Department of Homeland Security for verification.

* The "E-Verify" system is 97.4 percent accurate.

* Currently, there are approximately 4,000 Tennessee businesses participating in the E-Verify system.