WASHINGTON – The National Chicken Council (NCC) wrote a letter to President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders regarding the recent ICE raids in Mississippi. The trade association expressed concerns about the systems in place to verify workers legal status in the US and how future immigration enforcement actions could negatively affect poultry producers.    

“The US chicken industry uses every tool available to verify the identity and legal immigration status of all prospective employees,” NCC President Mike Brown said in the letter. “Unfortunately, the government does not provide employers with a reliable verification method to prevent identity fraud and document falsification and confirm with confidence that new hires are legally authorized to work in the United States.”

NCC pointed to loopholes in the current law where employees have options of which documents they can submit to companies. Right now, prospective workers choose documents that are easily falsifiable and lack biometric identification.

“Currently, multiple people can earn wages on the same Social Security Number (SSN) or use the SSN of a deceased individual,” NCC continued in the letter. “E-Verify alone does not flag if the SSN presented is a duplicate or belongs to a deceased individual. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides little cooperation or resources to employers trying to combat identity fraud.”

The National Chicken Council also said that companies should be allowed to require an E-Verify Self Check before hiring an individual. It is not required at this time.

NCC stressed that some applicants cannot complete the Self Check due to inadequate information in public databases. Brown stated in the letter that programs need to be in place to ensure eligible employees can appeal the results of the check or address the issues with an appropriate agency in a timely fashion.  

“Dept. of Homeland Security should provide employers with an automatic and expeditious appeals process for these employees,” Brown continued. “Having this system in place will ensure that only applicants who are legally permitted to work in the country even apply.”