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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: 680 detained food processing workers? Thanks for nothing, ICE

ICE raid
A Homeland Security Investigations officer guards suspected undocumented immigrants on Aug. 7 in Mississippi.
(AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: If the 680 undocumented people detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Mississippi were such “dangerous criminals,” why were they all picked up on their jobs?

The “dangerous criminals” I’ve known over the years didn’t go to work or have jobs. They did criminal stuff, not work in a food processing plant. And, they definitely were not worried about their kids left with baby-sitters. They worried about criminal stuff.

The book written about this era will not be called “The Diary of Anne Frank,” it will be called something like “The Diary of Maria Hernandez.” I am ashamed.

Ted Perlman, Pasadena

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To the editor: While the president has made illegal immigration a cornerstone of his fear-based governance, both parties have failed to portray immigration in America honestly.

If the government were truly serious about “controlling” illegal immigration, it could do so with a simple policy adjustment: Require every employer in every industry to screen their employees, both current and prospective, through the existing U.S. government program called E-Verify.

The E-Verify system is easily available to all employers. A simple phone or website contact quickly allows an employer to verify the eligibility of a new hire with regard to citizenship.

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Though employers are currently required to screen their prospective employees with the federal I-9 form and its attendant “two forms of qualified identification,” it is widely known that such forms can be fake, there is no routine monitoring of this requirement, and employers are under no obligation to verify their accuracy.

If the federal government really wanted to stop illegal immigration, it could simply impose an E-Verify requirement on every employer. Stiff penalties, such as those imposed on employers who fail to collect and pay their employee taxes, would deter noncompliance.

Mark Downing, Santa Rosa

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To the editor: ICE is on the wrong track raiding chicken processing plants in Mississippi and arresting and planning to deport hundreds of immigrants working jobs that few Americans will perform.

Employees like these pay taxes and support their families, and entire communities depend on their support and business. What happens to their spouses and children who are left behind? The families will go on welfare and food stamps.

Instead of pursuing and deporting criminal immigrants, as they are released from jails and prisons, ICE is preoccupied with hardworking people in one of the poorest of our states. Who is now going to process the chickens we eat?

Alan V. Weinberg, Woodland Hills


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