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- 05-01-2006, 08:17 AM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 1969
- IL: "The Most Corrupt State in The Country outside of Mexico"
Bosses bypass worker status website
Article Launched: 4/28/2006 09:00 PM
Bosses bypass worker status website
By Bruce Finley
Denver Post Staff Writer
In 10 seconds, any U.S. employer voluntarily can check the immigration status of workers using a free Web-based government screening system that's been available since 2004.
This system, which checks names and Social Security numbers against federal records, weeds out hundreds of unauthorized workers, said Brian Burke, a Denver-based manager for American Linen Supply Co., whose 400 local employees come mostly from Mexico.
"We want to work within the law. We're trying to be good citizens," Burke said.
But most employers decline to use the system.
Congress is weighing whether to require that they do so. While Monday's planned street rallies and scuffles over border security draw headlines, the role of employers hiring millions of undocumented workers increasingly drives the behind-the-scenes battle over record-high illegal immigration.
Only 6,191 out of the nation's 8 million employers screen new hires using the system, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services records.
In the Denver area, only 35 employers participate. Houston has 104, Los Angeles 63, New York 50, Chicago 41.
Participation inched up a bit recently - from 5,855 nationwide a month ago - amid the intense debate.
Yet the fraction of employers using the "Basic Pilot" system - launched in 1996 and made available nationwide in 2004 - is minuscule.
"Why don't more participate?" said Chris Bentley, spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security. "Employers can get answers on whether employees are eligible to work in 8 to 10 seconds," and an appeals process lets workers correct errors within a week, Bentley said. The system is "almost infallible because there is that ability to challenge decisions."
Authorities notified all employers through official bulletins, and publicity efforts include government "business liaison" officers available to guide employers through registering online and then using a password to enter a Homeland Security website and submit names, Social Security numbers and other basic data from new workers.
Since 1986, it's been illegal to "knowingly" hire unauthorized workers. But fake documents and lax enforcement have led to widespread reliance on unauthorized workers, with an estimated 12 million people in the country illegally - prompting a popular backlash.
Immigration analysts say blocking employment for illegal immigrants is fundamental in fixing what all sides see as a broken system.
Senate and House lawmakers are hashing out details of legislation that would require companies to confirm that all workers they hire are in the country legally. Homeland Security officials already have budgeted $110 million for running "Basic Pilot" on a mandatory basis.
Even political leaders who favor programs to bring in more foreign workers support the effort to hold employers accountable.
"If we get a fair and appropriate guest-worker system, that has to go with accountability in the private sector," Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said. "Businesses have to make sure people they hire have proper identification."
Today's low participation in voluntary screening is proof, some activists contend, that employers prefer to avoid responsibility for hiring illegal workers.
"Cheap labor is economic cocaine. People get addicted to it," said former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm, a leading immigration hard-liner. "Employers are happy to have an excuse to wink at the law - and are taking advantage of that."
Lobbyists for big business last week pressed for a gradual phase-in of any required screening, and modifications.
A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report charges that 20 percent of Basic Pilot's initial readings are false. And challenging errors is a hassle, said Angelo Amador, immigration policy director for the chamber.
"We have no problem with electronic employee verification. But we want to make sure it works before it's mandatory," Amador said.
The National Federation of Independent Business surveyed its 600,000 small-business members and found they "are somewhat divided," spokeswoman Melissa Sharp said. "We haven't taken a position."
Major employers in Colorado were similarly noncommittal. Instead of using the government system, Qwest Communications relies on a contractor to handle hiring. Qwest won't comment on whether the company has violated immigration laws, spokesman Bob Toevs said.
Construction companies and the Colorado Association of Homebuilders declined to comment, referring queries to national affiliates.
National Association of Homebuilders lobbyist Jenna Hamilton, "very involved with current drafts of Senate legislation," called for a multiyear phase-in of any requirement, with big companies leading the way, as well as modifications so that employers could verify worker status using cellphones.
Few if any Colorado landscapers use the system to check worker status voluntarily, "but if legislation passes mandating verification or screening, our industry will comply," said Kristen Fefes, director of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. "Any system put in place will need to be foolproof."
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Tamra Ward said companies may not know about the system.
"Perhaps marketing it in a larger way would be a first step before creating some mandated option," Ward said.
At Homeland Security, verification chief Gerri Ratcliff said today's system "works for the employers participating in it, and their numbers are growing every day."
Once worker-screening is required, she said, "employers who have avoided being in Basic Pilot because they didn't want to know about the legal status of their employees won't be able to anymore."
These crooked businessmen makes my skin crawl.
:evil: :evil:"IMPEACH JORGE BUSH NOW!!"
- 05-01-2006, 08:30 AM #2"If we get a fair and appropriate guest-worker system, that has to go with accountability in the private sector," Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said. "Businesses have to make sure people they hire have proper identification."
Slaying suspect worked at Hickenlooper eatery
A man suspected in the killing of a cop and the target of a massive manhunt worked with false documentation at the Cherry Cricket, a restaurant co- owned by Mayor John Hickenlooper, police said Tuesday.
Raul Garcia-Gomez, 19, an illegal immigrant, failed to show up for work Monday morning at the restaurant in the Cherry Creek retail district after the fatal shooting of police Detective Donald Young and the wounding of Detective John Bishop early Sunday morning.
Lee Driscoll, the mayor's business partner, said Tuesday that the company learned last month that Garcia-Gomez provided the restaurant with two forms of identification, but the Social Security number he provided turned out to be false.
Driscoll said Garcia-Gomez's name was on a list he receives annually from the Social Security Administration. It indicated Garcia-Gomez's information did not match its records.[b][i][size=117]"Leave like beaten rats. You old white people. It is your duty to die. Through love of having children, we are going to take over.â€