Bert Lemkes, co-owner of Van Wingerden Intl., Mills River, NC is testifying today before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. The subcommittee is holding a hearing on the E-Verify program, and identity theft issues. Lemkes’ growing operation, which employs 350 people at peak season, is using the federal E-Verify program and has learned first-hand of challenges it poses for agricultural employers. Lemkes cautioned Subcommittee members that making E-Verify mandatory without broader reforms could have the opposite of its intended effect, since false documents that feature a legitimate name and Social Security number routinely clear the E-Verify system now. It would also deprive greenhouses, nurseries, and farms of much of their labor force.