Immigrant Activists Angered by E-Verify Program

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent out 652 letters to businesses around the US informing them they would be subject to an audit ensuring they are following federal hiring procedures by enforcing a no tolerance policy for employing illegal immigrants.

The letters sparked massive layoffs of undocumented workers by large companies such as American Apparel and Overhill Farms. L.A. activists said this particular measure has swollen the ranks of the unemployed in the midst of the economic crisis.

However, the candidates that were laid off received a "no match" letter when put through the E-Verify program. Candidates were then provided a large window, 30 - 60 days, to receive proper documentation in order to save their jobs. If they cannot provide the documentation within that time frame, they will be unemployed.

Much of these actions angers immigration activists:

In an open letter posted on the website of the Southern California Immigration Coalition, workers fired from American Apparel, Overhill Farms and Farmer John’s wrote:

This is clearly the fault of the Obama Administration and only he has the solution in his hands to stop the cheap scapegoating and racial profiling of immigrants that is now sweeping America. This is certainly not the change we voted for, and not the immigration reform promised by President Barack Obama."

Activists argue that targeting employers does not create real reform, though the traditional method of border patrol and deportation has not proved successful. It might take a few years of American businesses being targeted before real reform can take hold.


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