Immigration Enforcement

Make E-Verify work

Tuesday, September 2

(updated 3:01 am)

Last week’s raid of a manufacturing plant in Mississippi put the spotlight back on illegal immigration. Netting almost 600, it’s the biggest immigration raid ever made on a U.S. plant.

The raid also put the spotlight on problems associated with E-Verify, a federal program that provides employers a link to government databases to determine workers’ legal status.

The company, Howard Industries Inc., was using E-Verify and other methods to check immigration status, yet it still employed hundreds illegally.

Much of the anomaly could stem from employees hired before the company began using E-Verify. It was reported that enforcers began investigating two years before Howard began checking workers’ status that way.

With such a large number detained, you have to wonder if someone at Howard didn’t mind hiring undocumented workers. Still, Howard’s employment problems likely also resulted from a glaring weakness of E-Verify: It has a hard time detecting identity theft.

If an illegal immigrant has stolen someone’s identity and is using both that person’s name and Social Security number, E-Verify often can’t determine that.

E-Verify is set to expire on Nov. 1, unless Congress reauthorizes it. Democratic Rep. Health Shuler, of western North Carolina, has proposed legislation that not only would continue E-Verify but expand it. Called the SAVE Act, it would phase in mandatory use of E-Verify by all employers.


September 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

595 Illegal Aliens caught at Laurel Mississippi assembly plant

LAUREL, Miss. — The largest single-workplace immigration raid in U.S. history has caused panic among Hispanic families in this small southern Mississippi town, where federal agents rounded up nearly 600 plant workers suspected of being in the country illegally.

One worker caught in Monday’s sweep at the Howard Industries transformer plant said fellow workers applauded as immigrants were taken into custody. Federal officials said a tip from a union member prompted them to start investigating several years ago.

Fabiola Pena, 21, cradled her 2-year-old daughter as she described a chaotic scene at the plant as the raid began, followed by clapping.

“I was crying the whole time. I didn’t know what to do,” Pena said. “We didn’t know what was happening because everyone started running. Some people thought it was a bomb but then we figured out it was immigration.”

About 100 of the 595 detained workers were released for humanitarian reasons, many of them mothers who were fitted with electronic monitoring bracelets and allowed to go home to their children, officials said.

About 475 other workers were transferred to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Jena, La. Nine who were under 18 were transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.


August 26, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Miss. governor signs bill requiring checks on immigrants’ status

JACKSON – Mississippi’s Republican governor campaigned last year on minimizing government regulation of business, but he signed bill Monday that he said will require employers to use an unproven federal system to check immigrants’ status.

Haley Barbour said he has “serious concerns about specific provisions of the bill that could have unintended negative consequences.”

The bill becomes law Jan. 1. It will require employers to use the U.S. Homeland Security electronic verification system to check whether new hires are legal residents. Employers who hire illegal immigrants could lose their business license for a year and any state contract work for up to three years.

Any illegal immigrant found working in the state could face a one-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.


March 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment