According to The Washington Times, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) who is scheduled to become the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee in January has warned that nation’s largest uniform company that it could be charged with “illegal activities in violation of state and federal law” if it fires any employees who provided false Social Security numbers to be hired.
Thompson is upset with a White House proposal to have companies recheck workers with incorrect Social Security numbers and fire those that can’t resolve the discrepancy in 60 days.
In a letter to Cintas Corp. Thompson said he was “deeply troubled by Cintas’ recent policy change regarding the Social Security Administration’s ‘no match’ letters”. He also said that he understood that hundreds of immigrant workers at Cintas had received the letters stating the new policy and that he was concerned about any “potentially discriminatory actions targeting this community”.
According to Cintas they issued letters to 400 workers in five states out of a total workforce of 32,000. This amounts to a little over 1 percent of the workforce. Also the company said that they won’t be firing anyone, but indefinitely suspending employees who don’t comply. I don’t see this as discriminatory and I suspect that many of the workers who can’t provide a valid Social Security number will quit and find another job where the employer won’t verify the number.
While Thompson is correct in noting that the proposal will need to go through a rule-making process which could change or alter it before it becomes law, that isn’t to say that companies aren’t legally obligated to make sure that their employees have the proper documentation to work legally in the U.S.
Instead of criticizing Cintas Thompson should be praising them for trying to keep their records straight and help the government. According to the Times the government receives some 250 million wage reports annually and about 10 percent of those reports have mismatched names and numbers. Some will be due to clerical errors, but with the large number of illegal immigrants that buy or create fake numbers the majority of these mismatches will never be corrected. And without a way to force employers to take a tougher stand, the problem will only get worse.
Thompson is sending a loud and clear signal that when it comes to Homeland Security that illegal immigrants won’t be closely scrutinized so as not to discriminate against them and opens the floodgates for terrorists to obtain work since he doesn’t want businesses to give the government any help in finding them.
I feel safer already, don’t you?