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November 19, 2006

Illegal Immigration – Has It Gone Too Far?

Posted in: Economy,Illegal Immigration,Politics

Illegal_mobImagine a company caught in a vice, on one side is the federal government telling them they face severe fines if they have illegal aliens at their plant. On the other side are union organizers that are motivating the workers to have walkouts if immigration status for employees continues to be checked. That is the pickle the Smithfield Packing Company of Tar Heel, North Carolina is facing.

The company is doing a review of their employees making sure that the social security numbers they were given match up with the records from the Social Security administration. If they do not, the employees have the right to explain why they do not. Simple enough.

Well, not really. Smithfield Packing Company is facing walkouts by its mainly Hispanic workforce because they think this is unfair. So a company that decides to follow the law is being accused by their workforce of being unfair. Don’t you get the feeling that the immigration debate has been turned upside down? I do.

Several weeks ago Smithfield Packing, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., sent hundreds of workers “no-match letters,” notifying them that the name and Social Security number they had given the company did not match records of the Social Security Administration. In recent days, the company began firing those who were unable to explain the discrepancies.

Eduardo Pena, an organizer for the union, said some of the letters had gone to employees who had valid Social Security numbers, and several workers said yesterday that they would not return to work until Smithfield pledged not to fire any more immigrants over the issue.

But the government has threatened to fine companies that knowingly continue to employ illegal immigrants, and Mr. Pittman said: “If Smithfield were to do what the union is calling for, we would be breaking federal law by knowingly employing undocumented workers. The union should stop trying to pressure Smithfield to break the law.” via the  New York Times.

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