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TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Loopholes let illegal immigration thrive

As a result of a loophole in federal law, more illegal workers than ever now fill American jobs. Federal law requires employers only to "exercise good faith" in determining if identification that immigrant workers present is valid. Believing the ID is valid lets employers off the hook if law enforcement officers catch them employing immigrants with fake documentation.

State Sen. Arthur Orr plans to do his part to not enable illegal immigrants. Legislation he is sponsoring as the Legislature begins a new session this week requires immigrants to prove who they say they are before they can obtain a marriage license in Alabama.

His Democratic opponent in last fall's General Election, former Probate Judge Bobby Day, was accused of running a marriage mill at the local courthouse because he followed state law. That law requires probate judges only to verify that applicants are old enough to get a marriage license.

State law prohibits the probate judge from issuing a license to anyone under age 14, and others under 18 must take extra steps as a prerequisite to getting a license.

Sen. Orr's bill would require applicants to show government-issued photo identification. It would give probate judges the option of requiring a second form of valid identification that shores up the first one.

The senator says the bill isn't directed at Hispanics, rather it's an attempt to cut down on illegal immigration and identity theft and to aid homeland security.

Without a nationwide system of verifying the identifications those love-struck applicants present, the results will be the same as enforcing the illegal worker law.

You might say that every bit of tightening of the system helps but most thus far are cosmetic and avoid the real solution.

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