WASHINGTON — The Reagan Administration, under draft regulations issued today to set the new U.S. immigration law in motion, proposed requiring every citizen or alien hired for a new job to prove residency and eligibility to work in the United States.
The rules would, for the first time, require all U.S. citizens to prove their legal status when applying for a job.
The rules, released by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, provide the first glimpse into Administration plans for enforcement of the landmark immigration law passed by Congress in 1986 after years of unsuccessful efforts.
Under the proposed rules, evidence of eligibility for work could be shown with a passport or a naturalization certificate or a combination of documents such as a Social Security card and a driver's license with a photo.
These would have to be shown to an employer within 24 hours of employment. Forms showing that the employer has verified eligibility would have to be available in the workplace in case of an inspection by immigration agents.
The INS is following an unusual procedure that makes the tentative rules public before they normally would be released. Formal release usually comes when rules are printed in the Federal Register, a procedure scheduled for Feb. 25. A 30-day period for public comment begins on that day.
To Solicit Comment
The immigration service decided to circulate in advance what amounts to a draft copy to Congress, other government agencies and interest groups that have been following the immigration law.
"This is a unique opportunity to solicit a broad range of public comment by allowing working drafts" to be distributed, said Mark W. Everson, executive associate INS commissioner.
INS Commissioner Alan C. Nelson said, "We are taking this unprecedented step to permit as much public input as possible to ensure that the new legislation will be implemented effectively, fairly and in an orderly manner."
The immigration law has two cornerstones: penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens and amnesty for those who have lived in the country illegally since before Jan. 1, 1982.
The legalization program will take effect May 5. The employers' sanctions begin June 1. For a one-year period, only warnings will be issued to employers for their first offense.
Those seeking amnesty will be allowed to use a number of documents to prove continuous residency dating back to the legalization date.