Newsletter: E-Verify’s fatal flaw

Two people are taken into custody at a Koch Foods Inc. plant in Morton, Miss., on Aug. 7.
(Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press)

E-Verify is supposed to detect workers without legal status. How do immigrants get around it?


E-Verify’s Fatal Flaw


“It’s not a secret. Almost everyone works with another name,” says Beatriz, a Guatemalan woman who paid $1,500 for fake documents with a fake name — Brandy — to land a job in a Mississippi chicken processing plant. “All they do is verify your Social Security number and your ID with another name, and you’re good.” Good, at least, until ICE raids that exposed the industry’s use of unauthorized workers, despite E-Verify. That federal system, intended to ensure hires can legally work in the U.S., has a glaring blind spot: It can’t tell when an applicant is using somebody else’s identity. But neither experts nor Beatriz expect much to change. “If things go back to normal, maybe a company will take me on?”

Shifting Gears on Iran

President Trump, who has repeatedly denounced former President Obama’s diplomacy with Iran, said on the final day of the Group of 7 summit that he’s open to negotiating with Tehran over its nuclear program. “We’re not looking for leadership change,” Trump said, ruling out a goal that some of his top advisors have explicitly endorsed in the past. So, does that mean he’s taking a new approach toward a government that he’s sanctioned for supporting terrorism in the Middle East? Stay tuned.

More Politics

-- California has opened another front in its legal battle with the Trump administration over immigration policies. Officials unveiled a federal lawsuit brought by 19 states that challenges a new rule allowing indefinite detention of migrant children and their families.

-- Former Vice President Joe Biden is the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, yet he is facing real questions about the fragility of that status. A new poll, albeit one with a large margin of error, shows him effectively tied with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.


-- A City Council candidate in Michigan who said last week that she wants to keep her community white “as much as possible” has withdrawn from the council race.

A Landmark Opioid Ruling

In a case that could have wide-ranging implications, an Oklahoma judge has ruled that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis and ordered the consumer products giant to pay $572 million — more than twice the amount OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma agreed to pay in a settlement with the state. Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson plan to appeal the ruling and have maintained it was part of a lawful and heavily regulated industry subject to strict federal oversight.

One More Step for Police Transparency

The California Supreme Court has unanimously decided that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies may alert prosecutors that a deputy who might testify in a criminal case has a history of misconduct. Though legal analysts say the ruling is likely to benefit defendants and possibly change the outcome of some cases, they also say it will not assure that relevant information about errant officers is disclosed.

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“Rejoice. Rock music, which has been going through a rather uneventful period lately, has a new star. He’s Elton John, a 23-year-old Englishman whose United States debut Tuesday night at the Troubadour was, in almost every way, magnificent.” That’s how pop music critic Robert Hilburn’s concert review, published on this date in 1970 on Page 22 of The Times’ arts and entertainment section, began. Though the story didn’t even include a photo, it would help launch John’s career.

This 1970 review helped launch Elton John's career.
(Los Angeles Times)


-- Authorities are investigating why a USC freshman was walking on the 110 Freeway near campus before being fatally struck a few days before classes began.


-- The parents of a man who was shot and killed by an off-duty L.A. police officer at a Costco in Corona are speaking out: They described begging the officer not to open fire after he pulled out his gun and identified himself as police.

-- Scientists have detected microplastic pollution in Lake Tahoe’s deep blue waters for the first time. Now they are trying to determine its source and potential harm to the lake’s flora and fauna.

-- The downtown L.A. bar Las Perlas says it is hiring new security after a video showing transgender women being forcefully removed by the bar’s security guards went viral on social media.


-- Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to two new counts of sexual assault in New York City after prosecutors in Manhattan sought to introduce a new accuser to the case just weeks before the disgraced mogul’s criminal trial was set to begin.

-- Plácido Domingo, who is denying allegations of sexual harassment in the U.S., got a long ovation in Salzburg after his first concert since the accusations.


-- A new study from USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has found that for Latinos, underrepresentation and stereotypical portrayals remain firmly in place in TV and movies.

-- Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish and Missy Elliott were the big winners at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, but the biggest victor might have been MTV.


— In a policy shift, the Mormon church is banning guns from its houses of worship.

— Flames are spreading across the Amazon rainforest this summer. Scientists are worried about what the fires represent: a dramatic increase in illegal deforestation that could deprive the world of a critical buffer against climate change.

— The Australian government says it’s “very concerned and disappointed” that a Chinese Australian writer had been formally arrested in China on suspicion of espionage.


Indonesia’s president has announced that East Kalimantan, a resource-rich province of tropical forest, has been selected to replace the current capital of Jakarta, pending parliamentary approval. So, what’s the problem with Jakarta? Read on.


Netflix‘s foray into India brought a welcome surprise: Its first original animated kids series, “Mighty Little Bheem,” took off worldwide. Now the streaming giant is doubling down on international animated originals.

— Trump has denigrated wind energy, saying windmills “frankly are not working all that well.” His energy secretary would beg to differ.

— The fake meat revolution is heading to KFC.



-- At the U.S. Open, Serena Williams routed Maria Sharapova in an efficient, businesslike win. Williams was loudly cheered by the crowd at every step.

-- After a three-game simulation of October baseball opposite a fellow World Series contender (yes, the Yankees) over the weekend, the Dodgers lost to a non-contender: the San Diego Padres.


-- The Amazon is burning and, The Times Editorial Board says, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro doesn’t care, as the health of the planet is endangered.

-- MIT was effusive in its praise of the late David H. Koch‘s generosity yet silent on his climate change denialism, columnist Michael Hiltzik writes. It “has a responsibility to the truth higher than promoting for sainthood an individual who lined the institution’s pockets.”



-- Sixty-eight minutes in Biarritz: A glimpse into Trump’s unorthodox mind. (Washington Post)

-- What’s behind the sudden rise in UFO sightings after World War II and into the Cold War? (Paris Review)

-- Are your plants talking to you? (NPR)


The La Brea Tar Pits have long been home to the remains of Pleistocene mammals — and, for five decades, a Columbian mammoth family made of fiberglass. But someday soon, things could get wild and woolly. Plans from three international architectural firms have been unveiled for revamping the public park around the tar pits, and one plan calls for the man-made mammoths to be moved.

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