Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Capital Press covers new no-match rules

Since the Bush Administration and the Department of Homeland Security gave its new rules last week on what employers must do with immigrant employees in regards to ensuring they have legal social security numbers, our staff have been busy.

Several of our staff have worked long hours to provide up-to-date posts for our Capital Press website covering what the officials are saying — but also how farmers and others are reacting.

Cookson Beecher, our reporter in Sedro-Woolley, Wash., does an excellent job of covering overall what the new rules mean and how the agricultural community is reacting to what the government says employers must do to check and then act quickly if an employee’s name doesn’t match a Social Security number.

Reporter Cecilia Parsons, of Ducor, Calif., attended a meeting in Fresno that was rather heated as farmers told what will be the impact of all this: from dairy cows now being milked, to various crops not being picked and harvested. Meanwhile, the farmers are angry — and deservedly so — for the timing of all this and the fact that as employers they could be the ones punished for not doing what ultimately should have been the government’s responsibility in dealing with illegal laborers.

One of the things that is helpful is when people read our stories online and send along any additional questions they have: our staff tries to find the answers, if possible.

This week’s main newspaper editorial (it will appear August 17 online and in our newspaper) also tackles the subject, and points out that the federal government is making individual employers become immigration agents. As the editorial bluntly states, “The business community is being punished for Congress’ inaction and political bickering.” It goes on to say “Employers who don’t do the government’s distasteful bidding face possible prosecution and increasing fines.”

To see more of the editorial, check back on Friday; to keep up to date on what is happening on this issue, keep checking our website each day for our news updates.

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