[JURIST] US Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) [official website], chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released a report [PDF text] by the Law Library of Congress on Friday showing that several countries have harsher policies for illegal immigrants and their employers than the US. Sensenbrenner, the primary sponsor of a House-passed immigration bill [HR 4437 summary] that has sparked protests [JURIST report] across the country, noted that five out of six countries studied, including Mexico, "make illegal entry and unlawful presence a criminal offense." Likewise, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden and Egypt can jail employers for three months to three years for hiring illegal immigrants. The Law Library of Congress found that Brazil was the only country of the six that does not have criminal penalties for illegal immigrants.
The House bill would make being in the US illegally a felony; illegal entry and re-entering after deportation are currently misdemeanors, while illegal presence in the US is a civil offense. Although the House has passed the bill [JURIST report], the Senate has not voted on the proposal [JURIST report] yet. Immigrants across the country organized protests Monday, as part of the "Day Without Immigrants" [advocacy website] effort to influence Congress. AP has more.