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- 05-01-2006, 08:31 AM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 1969
- IL: "The Most Corrupt State in The Country outside of Mexico"
Farmers Bitch and and Moan about lack of cheap Illegals!
Arrests send chilling message to ag employers
Homeland Security crackdown targets employers, too
Capital Press Staff Writer
Friday, April 28, 2006
The Department of Homeland Security crackdown on a pallet supply company last week that resulted in the arrest of seven company managers and more than 1,000 of its workers has many farmers worried about what this latest enforcement action means for agriculture.
“What extra responsibilities are being put on employers?” Snohomish County, Wash., berry grower Dianna Biringer asked Sen. Patty Murray during a recent agricultural roundtable in Skagit County, Wash. “Will we be thrown in jail?”
Biringer’s apprehension is based on the dilemma faced by all ag employers who hire immigrants. Current law requires only that job applicants fill out a form stating their immigrant status and furnish identification such as a driver’s license or birth certificate and a Social Security card. Although employers know document forgery is widespread, they also know they can be sued for discrimination should they question the legality of the documents.
The recent crackdown has them wondering just how to approach this dilemma.
In reply to Biringer’s questions, Murray said the immigration bill the U.S. House passed last year puts the responsibility on employers, but she also conceded it’s a tough situation for farmers, especially since “seasonal workers come and go.
“We have to be careful about that,” Murray said. “We could quickly hurt agriculture. It’s one thing for someone to break the rules, but it’s another to put a tremendous burden on farmers.”
After the roundtable, Murray said she was considering holding a briefing to find out more about Homeland Security’s strategy toward employers.
On April 20, the day after federal immigration officials stormed the pallet-making company’s facilities in 42 locations across the nation, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his department would be targeting employers that harbor aliens for “illegal advantages” and that the department intends to go after such employers just as diligently as it goes after other criminal organizations.
“We are going to move beyond the current level of activity to a higher level in each month and year to come,” Chertoff said.
The managers arrested in the recent raid could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each alien involved.
They allegedly not only hired illegal workers but also enticed some workers to come to this country, housed them, shipped them to different plants across the country, and in some cases even helped workers obtain forged documents.
In an April 20 press release, Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unveiled a “new interior enforcement strategy” – the second phase of a multi-year plan to secure America’s borders and reduce illegal migration.
The first phase remains focused on the nation’s borders.
The new interior enforcement strategy will expand existing efforts to target employers of illegal aliens and immigration violators inside this country, as well as the criminal networks that support these activities.
“The primary objectives are to reverse the tolerance of illegal employment and illegal immigration in the United States,” the press release reads. “Employers that knowingly and recklessly employ illegal aliens must be punished.”
Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement plan to hire 171 work-site enforcement agents to be added to the 325 agents already on the job. They have also asked Congress for the legal authority to get routine access to Social Security records with the goal of identifying companies that hire large numbers of new employees who have fake Social Security numbers.
The Washington Growers’ League warns that this could mean that Homeland Security will target those employers with a large number of mismatches for investigation and that it will draw inferences from how employers respond to mismatch letters.
Marc Grossman, spokesman for the United Farm Workers, said this new enforcement push could mean that “a lot of farmers will be in jail or won’t be in business anymore.”
“If it really happened, there would be a hue and cry in big business, because it would cause major economic dislocations in many sectors, including agriculture,” he said.
But he also pointed out that even if this country does solve the immigration dilemma, agriculture will still have problems.
“We’re losing 10 to 15 percent of our work force already,” he said, referring to the growing number of farmworkers who switch to other employment options such as construction.
Cookson Beecher is based in Sedro-Woolley, Wash. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
http://www.capitalpress.info/print.asp? ... tionID=618 :evil: :evil:"IMPEACH JORGE BUSH NOW!!"
- 05-01-2006, 09:44 AM #2“We’re losing 10 to 15 percent of our work force already,” he said, referring to the growing number of farmworkers who switch to other employment options such as construction."Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it" George Santayana "Deo Vindice"