Letters to the Editor: Blame undocumented workers for using false identities, not employers


To the editor: In your article about the recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids at the chicken processing plants in Mississippi, you state the “operation exposed the poultry industry’s widespread use of unauthorized workers ... despite E-Verify.”

In that same article, you acknowledge that undocumented workers quickly learned how to circumvent E-Verify by buying fake identities, making it extremely difficult to catch those employees before they start working. You mention several (former) workers who actually admitted to doing this, while showing no evidence that the employers were knowingly complicit in their illegal hiring.

I would think the burden should be on those intentionally breaking the law, not on the employers that follow the law but sometimes fail to catch people with stolen documents.


Jeff Pressman, Bell Canyon


To the editor: A few years ago, a friend of mine who is a practicing psychologist received a notice from the Internal Revenue Service that she had underreported her earnings and, as a result, owed more money to the federal government.

Knowing this was a mistake, she had her accountant contact the agency. She was told the “earnings” she had failed to report were from her job at a chicken processing plant in the Midwest. My friend figured this could be cleared up quickly — how wrong she was.

She had to hire an attorney and provide receipts, photos and other evidence to show she was not in two places at once. She was even threatened with liens. Evidently, the IRS had a hard time believing that a psychologist in Los Angeles had no reason to moonlight as a chicken plucker.

The fact that she had to spend so much time, energy and money to prove herself innocent is a travesty, especially when there was enough information for law enforcement to go find and arrest the person using my friend’s identity.

Paula Del, Los Angeles