Voz discusses the use of E-Verify with aid to Congressman David Wu

The legislative aid to Congressman David Wu, Brian Plinski, visited the Voz offices on Thursday, July 14th. During the visit, several day-laborers and union representatives expressed

Brian Plinski representative from the office of congressman David Wu

their concern about the possible use of E-Verify throughout the country.

The workers asked that Wu, the Oregon Representative, publicly state his position against E-Verify. On previous occasions, the Congressman has already mentioned several negative aspects of the legislation to the press and radio.

Voz insisted that the use of the E-Verify system will be prejudicial towards day-laborer centers. Because it will be obligatory, employers will have to enter the system in order to prove the “eligibility” of the workers, including their immigration record. Currently, the Center for Day-Laborers does not ask for this information.

Daniel Álvarez, President of the Day-Laborer Committee of Portland, explained to Plinski the importance of maintaining the current organization of the Center for Day-Laborers. “This is a safe place,” he said, “because on the corners sometimes we feel the harassment of the police.”

The Center for Day-Laborers is a place where workers are organized to avoid wage theft. “If any day-laborer has a problem, he can come to the Center and we can talk with the employer. We have been able to recover the wages of several day-laborers this way,” explained Romeo Sosa, Executive Director of Voz Workers’ Right Education Project.

Plinski listened to the day-laborers, who trust the message got through to the Congressman.

Also in attendance at this meeting was Greg Margolis, from Jobs with Justice, and Dan Torres, from AFLCIO (America Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations). This was the first of a series of meetings that Voz will hold with various political representatives in order to discuss the consequences of E-Verify.