AMI's Boyle Meets with President Obama

US - AMI President J. Patrick Boyle was invited to the White House today to give the meat industry's perspective on comprehensive immigration reform.
calendar icon 24 August 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

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 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. In addition, Boyle recommended that the number of documents that can be presented at the hiring point be reduced and, that a biometric element be incorporated into the program on a voluntary pilot basis, to enable employers to determine if documents presented relate to the individual presenting them.

Boyle also conveyed AMI's support for a mandatory E-Verify program, phasing in universal participation among businesses over several years to better enable the government to administer the program.

"AMI has been a long-time supporter of E-Verify and our member companies are long-time users of the program," Boyle said during the White House meeting. "We believe it is in the interest of both employers and employees, as well as the government, that the program become more effective and accurate and eventually mandatory."

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