AMI's Boyle meets with President Obama on Immigration Reform

by Editor
Monday, August 24, 2009

AMI President J. Patrick Boyle was invited to the White House 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, an 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 in 1997, when it was only available as a “pilot program” in a handful of states. Subsequently, AMI and its members successfully convinced Congress 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 same person to whom the card belongs. As a result, law abiding employers often end up hiring unauthorised workers even though they complied with the law.