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King pushes immigrant job screening, works for Tyson

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. should not be affected in any way by legislation that U.S. Congressman Steve King introduced last Tuesday that the congressman says would return lost jobs back to legal workers. King's New Illegal Deduction Elimination Act (New IDEA) would make wages and benefits paid to illegal aliens nondeductible for federal tax purposes.

New IDEA would enforce current federal laws that prohibit the hire of illegal aliens. In addition, New IDEA aims to help law-abiding businesses compete on the same playing field, so they don't have to compete with illegal labor wages.

Hiring illegal workers violates federal law. However, last year, no employers in America were sanctioned for hiring illegal workers.

According to King, New IDEA would protect employers who verify their employees' legal status through Basic Pilot, an existing electronic program that verifies legal status instantly through connection with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

According to spokesman Gary Mickelson at Tyson's company headquarters in Springdale, Ark., Tyson has used the Basic Pilot system for several years.

"We were one of the first companies to use Basic Pilot," Mickelson said. In fact, Tyson also used the Electronic Verification Pilot, an earlier version of the system, before that.

"We're using all tools made available to us through the government," Mickelson said.

Mickelson said he believed the Basic Pilot system was used to verify work eligibility with every Tyson employee.

"It's clear that employer sanctions aren't working, and it's time to try something new," King said. "New IDEA makes our immigration laws enforceable and removes the jobs magnet that draws illegal aliens to the U.S. to work in violation of our laws," said King. "It's simple; if you hire illegal workers, you won't be able to deduct their wages on corporate taxes. The government isn't going to subsidize hiring workers who take jobs away from legal workers."

If passed by both houses in Congress and signed by the President, New IDEA would take effect starting for fiscal year 2006. New IDEA has 17 cosponsors.



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