Letter to the Editor

Immigrants and their employers

Earlier this year on Aug. 7, about 600 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided six chicken processing plants and arrested 680 individuals.

Not charged were their employers. For example poultry companies such as Koch Foods actively recruit undocumented immigrants. Then they take advantage of them by paying low wages to cut, debone and package chicken under miserable and sometimes dangerous conditions.

This is why I have a good deal of contempt for the people who rail in opposition to immigrants without papers, but say nothing about those who hire them. By and large the undocumented individuals are simply looking for work in a safe environment.

E-Verify is a United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. I strongly suggest that the current problems with the E-Verify system, such as the use of biometrics, be corrected and employers be required to use the system when hiring. Current hiring costs would increase, but this system would be more effective than building a wall.

If E-verify is made fully effective, and if the failure to use it becomes a felony and if, as part of a guilty company's punishment its business assets are forfeited, the situation would change dramatically. One of two things would happen. Either the companies would get the proper documents for their workers or the enterprises would go out of business, and the demand for cheap and illegal labor would be reduced.

JOHN PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau