Newsday - Immigrant Advocate Protest at King's Office

Statement

By:  Pete King
Date: Sept. 14, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

By Victor Manuel Ramos

Immigrant advocates plan to protest Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Massapequa Park offices of Rep. Peter King against a bill that would require all prospective workers to undergo immigration status checks.

The Workplace Project, an immigrant advocacy group in Hempstead, is organizing the demonstration as part of a national campaign against the bill by House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Local advocates are targeting King (R-Seaford) because he supports immigration status checks.

The Legal Workforce Act, expected to be discussed in committee this week, would require use of the federal E-Verify program to check the immigration status of employees by verifying their Social Security numbers before they are hired.

Opponents say the requirement would discourage companies from hiring immigrants. "In essence, E-Verify will be used as another way to attack immigrant workers," said Carlos Canales, a day labor organizer.

King would not comment on the protest, but he defended status checks.

"Employers must have the ability to quickly verify an employee's legal status to live and work in the United States. It is common sense," he said. "With unemployment so high, it is more important than ever that jobs are filled by citizens and legal workers."