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    UFCW, Food Makers Team on Immigration

    Coalition asks for changes to Senate bill

    The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and the Food Manufacturers Immigration Coalition (FMIC) have joined forces to push for comprehensive immigration reform, in a letter praising the so-called Senate “Gang of Eight” for their efforts on S. 744, but also requesting additions to the Senate bill in the areas of visa allocation and employment verification.

    “We write in support of the comprehensive immigration reform process and thank you for your critical and constructive efforts in support of this legislation,” wrote UFCW International president Joe Hansen and the FMIC’s Barry Carpenter.

    The groups affirmed their support for the Senate bill’s provisions to establish a roadmap to citizenship; protect family-based immigration; promote smart, effective border enforcement; implement a workable, transparent employment verification system; and create an occupational visa for nonseasonal, permanent positions. However, Hansen and Carpenter also pointed out the need for what they called “commonsense improvements” to the bill.

    One such improvement was for more flexibility in regard to employment verification. “Allowing employers to use Self-Check in a uniform, nondiscriminatory fashion will create greater transparency for new employees, and will enable employers to ensure that their new hires are not circumventing E-Verify,” the letter said, adding, “If an employer takes the extra step of deterring identity theft through the uniform use of Self-Check, then the employer should be presumed to have acted in ‘good faith’ with respect to the E-Verify confirmations it receives.”

    The other request in the letter was that senators direct the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to create regulations that would provide specific rules “describing a course of conduct … that satisfies employment verification requirements and concurrently avoids antidiscrimination liability.”

    “If an employer follows these regulations, then the employer is presumed to have complied with both the verification and antidiscrimination rules,” the letter said, which expressed the desire to work with the Senate to improve S.744 and to help get comprehensive immigration reform passed into law.

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