Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, said Americans want to know the government is serious about enforcing border security and reducing illegal entry. He said the reforms and measures outlined by the administration “are important steps to gaining operational control over the borders and to ensure that all immigration laws are thoroughly enforced.”
Rep. Brian Bilbray, California Republican and chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, said Congress “must now work to pass legislation that will implement a tamper-resistant and working employer-verification program that will give employers the tools they need to verify the eligibility of the workers they hire.”
But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, described the reforms as “a Band-Aid that will not stop the looming crisis American agriculture will face this fall.” She said the crisis “is that crops will not be harvested.”
Mr. Chertoff said the reform effort will also include the training of hundreds of state and local law-enforcement officers to address illegal entry in their communities. He said this would include formal task forces, greater use of federal law-enforcement support centers, delegated border search-and-seizureauthority, and enhanced partnerships.
He said Homeland Security would also issue a “no-match” regulation on Social Security cards to help employers ensure their workers are legal and help the government identify and crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal workers.
The no-match letter, he said, clarifies thatemployers may be held liable if they ignore it.
• Amy Fagan and Audrey Hudson contributed to this article.