Kreider Farms, located in Manheim, Pa., discovered in September that their corporation was being audited by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an investigative section of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This means that DHS intended to host an official examination of Kreider Farms’ account.
According to an article written by Suzanne Cassidy and published through Lancaster Online, when the results of the audit came back earlier in September, Kreider Farms’ human resources manager, Terri Turner, said she was shocked; about 100 employees — one-third of the Kreider Farms workforce, had invalid documents, and were ineligible for employment in the United States.
The counterfeit documents varied in their inconsistencies. Some names failed to match their Social Security Numbers, while some alien registration cards contained forged numbers.
Currently, none of the workers have been arrested pending the shocking results of the audit.
The government can issue audits in order to evaluate a company’s organization, system, process and enterprise. Recently, under Obama’s presidency, the aim for governmentally-enforced audits is to uncover companies who are intentionally hiring illegal immigrants. The audits strategically examine the I-9 employment eligibility forms that each worker must possess. Every employee in the United States is required to have these documents in order to be considered a legal worker.
According to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), audits have been issued more frequently in 2011 than previous years. ICE conducted 2,496 I-9 audits in 2011. According to Turner’s article, Kreider Farms is not facing any fines or charges, despite the large number of workers found to have invalid documents.
The audit revealed that Kreider Farms’ records were inconclusive. It was the documents of the employers that were questionable. Therefore, Kreider Farms Corporation was technically following the ICE regulations for hiring immigrants.
According to Kreider Farms, they have opted to utilize a new federal program called E-Verify, which is a free federal program online that efficiently allows companies across the U.S. to check if their employers are, in fact, approved to legally work. Kreider Farms prides itself on hard work, perseverance, dedication and diversity in the workplace.
The Kreider Farms website proudly stated that it has been in business since 1935 and has expanded from 103 acres, 200 chickens, a dozen cows, and assorted crops to over 2,500 acres with five million egg-laying chickens, 2,000 cows, a milk bottling and ice cream plant, 225 employees and a public farm tour program. Moreover, Kreider Farms is the most productive non-irrigated farmland in the United States.
With more than one-third of its workforce with invalid documents, the company foundation is greatly at stake. Likewise, Lancaster County significantly depends on Kreider Farms because Kreider Farms is a major provider for the small county.
Although the Department of Human Services did not outwardly fire the workers, they will be let go throughout the upcoming weeks. However, the workers were also given the names of Immigration Attorneys who might assist them through these proceedings.
Turner also stated that, “[Kreider Farms does] hire a lot of foreign employees. I know that’s something agriculture is criticized for.” Turner continued, “I have not had American people wanting these jobs…Farming is really hard work, and as a society, Americans have kind of gotten away from that a little bit.”