Inmates to replace immigrant farm workers:
State prison inmates may soon be working the farm fields of Colorado as immigrant labor becomes more difficult to find due to tightening down of immigration laws.Meanwhile, Sen. Allard tries to close another immigration loophole:
The Pueblo Chieftain today reports that a pilot project would operate under the Department of Correction’s Correctional Industries Program that helps inmates find work while in prison so they can learn a skill at the same time.
DOC executive director Ari Zavaras said the program fits in the emphasis he and Gov. Bill Ritter have on reducing recidivism, which, in turn, cuts down on funding needed to build new prisons.
State Rep. Dorothy Butcher, D-Pueblo, started the idea with area farmers who complained the new crackdown on immigration and stringent documentation rules adopted by the Department of Revenue has made it impossible to find labor for their fields.
Sen. Wayne Allard has introduced legislation he hopes will close a loophole in immigration enforcement.
Federal officials have said that a recent immigration crackdown at Swift & Co. meat processing plants exposed a major problem with a pilot program that's meant to help companies verify whether their employees are legally authorized to work.
Under the voluntary program, employers can verify whether their employees have valid Social Security numbers. But according to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, current law limits information-sharing among federal agencies and the Social Security Administration is unable to alert law enforcement authorities when the same Social Security number is being used in multiple locations around the country — a tip-off to possible identity theft.
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Allard's legislation would require such information-sharing.
"It seems logical that we would already be doing this, but we are not," Allard said in prepared remarks for a Senate speech today.
"Withholding this information effectively enables thieves to continue to perpetrate the crime of identity theft against innocent victims," Allard said. "By simply sharing this information, cases of identity theft could be discovered much sooner. Victims of identity theft deserve to have this existing information acted on, and my bill allows this."