Suzanne Gamboa, AP, May 5, 2006
WASHINGTON — Defending his House-passed immigration bill that sparked street protest by millions of immigrants, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee issued a report Friday showing that several countries are harsher than the United Stated in their treatment of illegal immigrants and their employers.
The Law Library of Congress study of immigration laws in six countries found that all but Brazil have criminal penalties for illegal entry and presence within their borders.
In four of the countries — Japan, Switzerland, Sweden and Egypt — employers can be jailed for up to three months to up to three years for hiring illegal immigrants.
“With all the blustery rhetoric coming from opponents about a ‘harsh’ and ‘draconian’ House bill . . . , I note that five out of the six countries studied — including Mexico — make illegal entry and unlawful presence a criminal offense,” said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
The House bill, written largely by Sensenbrenner, would make being in the country illegally a felony. It already is a misdemeanor to enter the country illegally, and re-entering the country after being deported also is a crime.