Thursday, September 25, 2008

Basic Economics

I sat there, stunned, as George W. Bush gave the nation a nutshell explanation of basic economic theory, reading his Teleprompter quite well and not stumbling as he usually does.  Still, what he was saying would have been more clearly stated to the American people via a simple "We in a HEAP o' trouble, people..."  The current mess is the result not only of the fat cats on Wall Street but of the lies told by the millions of home purchasers in their greedy desire to buy more home than they could possibly afford by agreeing to ridiculous mortgages they almost all understood at the time of purchase, but have conveniently "forgotten" in the aftermath of their greed.  Between the ambulance chasers and now the "what do you MEAN the mortgage is adjustable" crowd, we have gone from a nation of leaders to a nation of victims, and it's embarrassing.   And the only ones we have to blame are ourselves, period.

Bush's invitation of Obama and McCain to the White House this morning is being seen by many in the media as a sort of final admission that he's completely lost control of things, and it is difficult to argue with that conclusion.  Perhaps it's eight years of seeing the same smug look on his face, but it is difficult to accept stern words of warning from the same man who triggered the Post-Katrina spike in fuel prices by refusing to follow the advice of his Secretary of Energy and announcing the availability of a small fraction of our national reserves BEFORE Katrina hit; in the weeks that followed, his father's main client, the Saudi Royal family, made millions in the sale of the oil futures they held.

Nope, despite his dire warnings last night, it is unlikely the Bush clan will be worrying about college tuition anytime soon.

But the good news is this:  after the disatrous presidency of the current President, I feel pretty certain that whether it's Obama or McCain, the next four years will be a time of intelligence, prudence, and restoration of our national economy, identity, and self-respect.  Whoever wins will understand that immigration policy must not simply be a knee-jerk reaction to political pressure but, rather, an intelligent balance of complex considerations which, ultimately, must restore America's role as a global political and economic leader, as both manufacturer AND consumer. 

A critical component of the restoration of our economy will be the need to remove emotion from the politics of American immigration and replace it instead with prudence that both protects American jobs AND insures a steady flow of the healthcare, technology, and science professionals upon which our aging population will continue to rely.



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tweaking E-Verify

With the election just weeks away, the economy reeling, and the future looking anything but bright, the rhetoric regarding employment verification has cooled a bit of late.  But one thing remains clear: E-Verify, love it or hate it, seems to be solidly established as the federal government's solution for the foreseeable future.  How E-Verify plays out reveals the very complex nature of the subject matter, and opinions are anything but what you'd expect them to be. 

Take FAIR, the Federation for Immigration Reform, one of the more rabid critics of the government's immigration policies.  Given the error rates cited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and FAIR's historical distrust of the USG, one would expect its position on E-Verify to be negative.  Yet in early August, FAIR referred to E-Verify as:

"...a highly successful program that allows employers to verify
electronically that workers are legally eligible to be work in the U.S.
"

Hmm.  Meanwhile, SHRM, the nation's leading human resources organization, represents employers nationwide and has tremendous resources dedicated to workforce compliance via both national and state chapters.  But instead of working diligently to educate its members on how to best work with E-Verify, the organization wasted most of 2008 pushing a rather ill-conceived alternative and deeming E-Verify a complete and utter flop.  Their proposed "solution" would have trashed all the progress made via E-Verify.

The truth is simple, notwithstanding all the hyperbole from the various lobbyists and interest groups:  E-Verify is fundamentally sound but needs more work.  The DHS has invested a lot of time and energy into developing it and, for ONCE, the USG deserves credit for reaching out to organizations like i9 Advantage in helping us improve our employer solutions through better integration with E-Verify. 


Here's an idea, folks: let's start working together to develop the private sector tools which truly make E-Verify an integrated, effective part of employment verification.  Let's educate employers.  The government is doing its job pretty well, I'd say, and companies like ours are working very hard to develop the solutions employer needs. 

Perhaps if we spend less time trashing and more time tweaking, we can get this baby up and running the way we need it to run to both prevent unauthorized employment AND protect the good companies trying so hard to comply with the law.

J



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

So where have I been...?

Well, I must say that it was a bit flattering to come back to a handful of messages asking why I've been silent for the past six weeks.  The answer: I was wrapping up business in various other countries and was out of the U.S. for almost two months...but I'm back and so is the blog.

We are working on updating the i9advantage E-Verify status map and you'll have it soon.  In the meantime, please remember: if you know of new municipal or state laws enacted which affect the hiring practices of employers, WRITE ME AND TELL ME!



Manager Pleads Guilty Plea in Agri-Processor ICE Raid Case

The Associated Press reported on August 28 that Martin De La Rosa-Loera, a supervisor at the Agri-Processors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, has pled guilty to “aiding and abetting the harboring of illegal immigrants”.  The charges stem from a massive immigration raid on the company in May of this year.  He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

WHAT THIS MEANS:  

The guilty plea specfies that he – a supervisor at a plant – was violating federal law by “knowing and recklessly disregarding the fact that” workers were illegally in the country [Emphasis added.]

IMHO, this plea – accepted by the defendant – establishes a new level of risk to ALL levels of corporate management, not just HR and Legal departments.  Given all of the massive publicity the Department of Homeland Security has given the subject of employment verification, I-9 regulations and, most notably, E-Verify, the use of the term “recklessly disregarding” should prompt urgency among compliance departments nationwide.

Why?  Because Mr. De La Rosa-Loera is a manager, not a principal! Think about that term, "recklessly disregarding".  Translation: any decent human being who finds out in one form or another that one of his or her employees may not be in legal status and does not immediately act to terminate that person is "recklessly disregarding" the law, according to this decision.  So now, middle management is tasked with immigration enforcement and if they don't do it...they go to jail.

This decision, and the continued ICE/DHS rhetoric, leaves little doubt that major U.S. employers who STILL continue to hem and haw about implementing a comprehensive employment verification solution are prime targets for prosecution.  

I remain deeply concerned at the number of major employers who are, without a doubt, “recklessly disregarding” their legal obligation to have a current and provable employment status program.  If this sounds like your company, please contact Terry Madden at tmadden@i9advantage.com so he can demonstrate why America’s leading employers are turning to i9 Advantage as their comprehensive I-9 compliance solution.