Capitol Hill

The SAVE Act

The term "Balkanization," derived from political divisions in the Balkans during the early 20th century, is used to describe the fragmentation of a country, region or governing body into small, often hostile, units. This term aptly describes the situation Congress is in as it tries to address immigration issues—a situation that became even more fragmented with Rep. Heath Shuler's (D-N.C.) introduction of H.R. 4088, the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act, on Nov. 6, 2007.


The SAVE Act is enforcement-only legislation aimed primarily at employers. It would make the E-Verify program mandatory for employers one year after its enactment even though there is no benchmarking to ensure the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) would clean up their databases and provide accurate information to employers.

E-Verify currently is a voluntary employment eligibility verification program (except where certain states are trying to require it) used by about 56,000 employer participants. It is operated by DHS in partnership with the SSA.