J. Patrick Boyle, American Meat Institute president, attended a White House meeting last week to give the meat industry's perspective on comprehensive immigration reform. Boyle, along with other business, labor, law enforcement and faith-based leaders, met with the president, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other senior administration officials to discuss the framework for comprehensive immigration reform in the 111th Congress.
During the meeting, Boyle conveyed AMI's support for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform and emphasized the need to include a section enhancing and mandating E-Verify, the electronic employment verification tool voluntarily used by some employers to determine the work eligibility of new hires. The meat industry was one of the earliest adopters of E-Verify.
E-Verify 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 same 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.
Boyle urged the Obama Administration to support improvements to the E-Verify program and address the problems inherent with identity theft, such as determining whether the name and social security number being presented in one place of employment is simultaneously being used in different places of employment around the country.