There could be an easier way

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

There were no official numbers given for how many workers immigration agents took into custody during a raid on a Marshalltown Swift meat processing plant as part of an operation in six states.

Agents also raided Swift plants in Greeley, Colo.; Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; and Worthington, Minn.

Although the Marshalltown raid was focused on an identity theft scheme, the search warrant allowed agents to arrest anyone believed to be working illegally at the plant.

Reportedly, federal agents led workers out of the facility every few minutes.

"Swift has never condoned the employment of unauthorized workers, nor have we ever knowingly hired such individuals," Swift Co. President and CEO Sam Rovit said in a written statement.

This brings to mind the scene from Casablanca in which the character played by Claude Rains states, "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

Whether or not we find the claims of ignorance from large scale employers of immigrants credible, there is no way of proving unlawful intent by those employers under the current system. Currently, if the Social Security number and name match up with the name registered for that Social Security number, proof of identity is satisfied.

It would be a relatively simple matter to have an improved data base for which all employers are responsible to input and regularly update for each employee the Social Security number, name, age, and current address. Regular automatic internal computer cross-referencing could establish any dubious duplication such as the same person having more than one address or having more than one job hundreds of miles apart.

Being employed after having died is another factor that should cause suspicion.

There are ways to tighten security to the point that a large employer could no longer claim innocence in hiring illegal immigrants. The fact that no serious effort has been put into this is amazing.