BY GARY THORNTON
oultry processors, beware!
President Obama is in campaign
mode for the 2012 elections, and
poultry processors are at ground zero in
the president’s push for immigration reform. This is resulting in heightened scrutiny of employers by U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement, but steps can
be taken to manage the risk of potential
The president’s mocking talk of a
moat with alligators to secure the country’s border with Mexico entertained
a supportive crowd during his policy
speech on immigration reform in El Paso,
Texas. His contention was that the border
is secure and that any doubts about its
security are somehow ridiculous.
Realism left out of
“The reason that the
current dialogue about
immigration reform is
so dangerous is that the
government is not talk-
ing about the numbers,”
he said. “Think about the amount of govern-
ment resources that it would take to process
10 million people for legalization, which is
what they say they want to do.
“Until we get some honesty in the dia-
logue and start dealing with the practicality
of what immigration reform means, this is
all pandering and a lot of people are going
to get hurt. And we are going to end up at
the same place we are now next year, or 10
years from now, and it will be even worse
in terms of numbers,” he predicted.
Poultry processors to see more scrutiny from US immigration agency
and deported. Instead, the administration’s
focus is on making examples of employers
who hired the workers.
Employers stuck in president’s
Is the border with Mexico really secure?
Not according to 64% of likely voters in
a Rasmussen poll conducted May 11-12.
Because the president’s case for immigration reform is politically weak at the border;
his administration’s efforts – and public attention – will need to be shifted elsewhere.
This is where employers are to have a role on
the political stage. Experts in immigration
compliance expect to see more executives
being led away in handcuffs for criminal
prosecution in 2011.
Here’s the new political calculus: The
public blames U.S. businesses for employing workers who are in the U.S. illegally.
The public is much more sympathetic,
however, to the plight of alien workers.
Therefore, raids are no longer being conducted where scores of workers are arrested
New ICE enforcement methods
Mark K. Reed, an immigration compliance expert who spoke at the U.S.
Poultry & Egg Association Processor
Workshop, described new approaches
✔Form I- 9 has taken on a new role.
Forensic analysts at ICE examine the
forms, and even technical violations
result in ;nes – a new-found source
of revenue for ICE operations.
✔Notices of Inspection are the nexus
of ICE investigations, supplanting
costly, time-consuming raids. In the
week leading up to the president’s
speech in El Paso, 180 companies in
;ve states received inspection notices
from ICE. The agency is engaging
more employers than ever before.
✔Return inspections are planned. “In
the past, once employers were raided,
they were never raided again. The
problem was that unauthorized workers continued to replace unauthorized workers. Return inspections
are aimed at stopping that cycle,"
Another of the government’s immigration enforcement tools, E-Verify,
is unreliable. The online system, used
voluntarily by some employers, wrongly
clears illegal workers over half the time,
due to identity fraud on the part of the
workers. Nonetheless, employers are
held responsible when they employ those
workers cleared by the system.
Dealing proactively with ICE
Meantime, Reed offered the following
advice to help employers mitigate the risk
of ;nes and prosecution:
✔Sign up for E-Verify. Even though
E-Verify won’t reliably identify illegal
workers, it is a pillar in the administration’s case that it is ready to move
forward with immigration reform. “The
administration is not going to want
to pick on employers that are using
E-Verify for the fear that it will show
E-Verify for the sham that it really is,”
✔Establish an immigration compliance
program. Document your core values,
hiring policies and auditing processes.
Then make sure you adhere to your