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Larry, Daryl & Daryl PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Friday, 15 December 2006
AFF Sentinel Vol.3 #37

We've figured out what happened to the parents of Larry, Daryl and Daryl. You remember the brothers: "Hi. I'm Larry and this is my brother Daryl and this is my other brother Daryl."

Their parents have evidently been running things over at Social Security. Only parents who don't bother to keep track of how many sons they've named Daryl would be comfortable with a system in which dozens of people share the same "unique" identification number.

That is the ludicrous situation highlighted in the Swift raid. Not only have government bureaucrats failed to do what anyone does with their Christmas list - cross check for duplication - they claim they're not allowed. Michael Chertoff with Homeland Security urged Congress after the raid to "pass legislation that would allow Social Security officials to pass along information about valid Social Security numbers being used in multiple workplaces ..." ("U.S. to crack down on those who take IDs," Gazette, 12/14/06)

Well ...what will they think of next?

Swift agreed in 2002 to automatically send names, Social Security numbers and birthdates of employees to the government's Basic Pilot verification program.

If the feds had been verifying, why were ICE agents and riot police with assault weapons hauling off hundreds of government-verified Swift employees? Anyone designing a system to prevent fraud and error -- incorporating basic accounting principles -- would automatically have it crosscheck submitted numbers to prevent duplication.

Not here. So we have the total shutdown of six packing plants, hundreds of agents and automatic weapons inside the fence and wailing relatives and protestors outside the fence. Stories in Denver papers featured schools, families and churches in uproar, as if illegal aliens should have the "right" to no disruption when their illegal activities are discovered. We saw few national media references to the many millions of dollars Swift lost that day, the meat customers that didn't receive deliveries, the marketing disruptions or the feedyards with cattle stressed and returned.

Swift had strict guidelines to follow for verification because one arm of government charged they were infringing on applicants' civil rights by authenticating documents too thoroughly. Participating in the government's Basic Pilot program supposedly allowed employers to weed out illegals and fake documents. However, Chertoff acknowledged the program is unable to detect authentic identity documents that have been stolen.

Swift's tightrope - unknowingly employing illegals because the only government tool is ineffective and risking civil rights charges if they question documentation too much - illustrates the impossible situation many labor intensive industries face. Businesses face punishment and lost revenue -- and can do little to reduce the risk.

Laura Reiff, co-chairwoman of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (representing hotel, restaurant, construction and other service employers), said Homeland Security upset businesses, the Gazette reported.

"They're frightened; they're outraged," Reiff said. "Companies have tried to work with them in good faith. For them to target a company that is using a program that they're trying to sell is disingenuous."

Chertoff shrugged off the impacts on businesses as a ripple effect he couldn't help. He promised more of the same.

This means the beef industry, from packers to feedyards and cow/calf operators, can expect further disruptions. Swift may just be the first to lose millions, even if no charges are filed against it for relying on its government-ordered verification process.

Will political correctness or facts rule the debate? Geraldo Rivera was vociferous with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, charging that packers rely almost exclusively on illegals because they can't find workers. Rivera ignored the fact that only ten percent of Swift workers were detained. Yet Chertoff said Swift was targeted because they suspected a higher concentration of illegals and several ID theft rings.

Activists and illegal sympathizers act unaware the slaughtering industry has existed for centuries. They peddle the same idiocy Eric Schlosser used on the fast food industry: these industries were invented expressly to exploit illegals, not serve customers.

Many labor intensive industries desperately need a real verification system and at least a transitional, workable guest worker program.

But a public flogging of a Basic Pilot cooperator and disruption of an industry's major player seems counterproductive to fixing the problem. More such theatrical raids will only increase costs to packers, cattlemen and consumers.

Milton Friedman noted that if you pay people to be poor, you will get more poor people. Likewise, if you provide illegals with a system that won't detect them and pays them double the minimum wage, you will get more illegals ... and continued chaos in the war zone border ranchers inhabit.

Fall AFF 2nd Anniversary & Beyond Fund Drive.

We need your check today or your visit to our website where you can use a credit card to make your contribution during our fund drive. If you prefer, send your check, made out to Agribusiness Freedom Foundation or us at the address at the bottom of this newsletter. We are heading into a Farm Bill debate which could shape the future of cattle and beef marketing, industry structure and world trade for decades. Please join with us and help make sure our independent voice is there.

To everyone who contributes the suggested minimum amount, as a "thank you" gift, AFF will send a copy of Riding for the Brand, a terrific novel that paints the picture of what the beef industry could be like in 25 years - or sooner. Author Jim Whitt's short, entertaining book shows how real beef industry people could get there.

The recent elections have made the road ahead more challenging than ever. Please help us preserve your freedom to innovate and adapt to the 21st century consumer. Thank you.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 15 December 2006 )
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