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American Meat Institute Calls Upon Congress to Fix and Mandate `E-Verify' Employment Verification System

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
 

The American Meat Institute (AMI) today is calling upon Congress to pass legislation that would enhance and mandate E-Verify, an electronic employment verification tool voluntarily used by some employers to determine the work eligibility of new hires. 

 AMI communicated its message to Congress in a letter delivered today to Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Ranking Member John Cornyn (R-TX).

The meat industry was one of the earliest adopters of E-Verify in 1997, when it was only available as a “pilot program” in a handful of states.  AMI and its members fought to make E-Verify available on a voluntary basis to all employers in all states.  Since it became available, E-Verify has been embraced by the vast majority of meat companies in the United States.

 The program enables employers to check online to help ensure through Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases that a newly hired person’s employment documents are valid.  Unfortunately, the current system fails to provide a fail-safe mechanism to detect identity theft when an imposter uses another person’s name and social security number.  E-Verify cannot determine whether the person presenting a valid name and social security number is the person to whom the card belongs.  As a result, law abiding employers often end up hiring unauthorized workers even though they complied with the law.

In AMI’s view, Congress must act to improve the E-Verify program and address the problems inherent with identity theft.  The number of documents that can be presented at the hiring point must be reduced and a biometric element must be incorporated into the program to enable employers to determine if documents presented relate to the individual presenting them.

 Given its long-standing experience with employment verification programs, AMI also believes that Congress should mandate E-Verify for employers, phasing in universal participation over several years to better enable the government to administer the program, and launching the biometric component directed at eliminating identity theft on a pilot voluntary basis. 

“An employment verification program is like an immunization initiative:  it only works effectively if implemented across the board.  When applied in patchwork fashion as it has been, the system is vulnerable,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle.  “We believe it is in the national interest – and in the interest of all employers – that this program become routine, not just a program used by a fraction of businesses.” 

 To read the letter, to go: 

The link to this document is: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/52136.

 

 

 

 

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