THE HILL: N. RAPPAPORT ASKS A GREAT QUESTION: “WHY NOT GO AFTER EMPLOYERS?”

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/358892-to-tackle-illegal-immigration-go-after-the-employers

Nolan writes:

“The job magnet is making it impossible to secure the Southwest border. The availability of jobs in the United States attracts immigrants who need work and are willing to do whatever they have to do to cross the border.

Congress tried to eliminate the job magnet by establishing employer sanctions with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). The theory was that if employers were sanctioned for hiring aliens who do not have work authorization, they would stop hiring them.

This was expected to prevent a new group of undocumented aliens from taking the place of the ones IRCA was going to legalize.

It didn’t work. Approximately 2.7 million undocumented aliens were legalized, but by the beginning of 1997, they had been replaced entirely by a new group of undocumented aliens.

It failed because the sanctions were not applied on a large-scale, nationwide basis. This is necessary to make employers throughout the United States afraid that they will be sanctioned if they hire undocumented workers. And it has continued to fail for the same reason. According to the Pew Research Center, there were 8 million unauthorized immigrants working or looking for work in the United States in FY2014.

The government has had more than 30 years to make the sanctions work, and it hasn’t happened. It is unrealistic at this point to expect it ever to happen. A new approach should be considered. But first, let’s look at what employer sanctions do.

. . . .

Shift attention to “the other magnet.”

Unscrupulous employers are drawn to undocumented immigrant workers because they can be exploited easily and are not in a position to complain about the way they are treated. I call this “the exploitation magnet.”

The Department of Labor (DOL) sanctions employers for exploiting employees without regard to their immigration status. Consequently, DOL enforcement officers do not have to determine whether an exploited employee is an alien, and if so, whether he has work authorization. For instance, DOL enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires a minimum wage and overtime pay.

Low wage industries tend to employ substantial numbers of undocumented immigrants.

DOL prosecutes employers for violating labor laws much more aggressively than DHS prosecutes employers for hiring unauthorized immigrants.

In FY2014, for instance, DHS issued only 643 final fine orders, imposing fines totaling $16.28 million, and DOL collected $79.1 million in back wages for overtime and minimum wage violations involving 109,261 employees.

With additional funding, DOL could mount a large-scale, nationwide campaign to stop the exploitation of employees in industries known to hire large numbers of undocumented immigrants, which would go a long way towards eliminating the job magnet.”

***************************************

Go on over to The Hill at the link to read Nolan’s complete article. I highly recommend his succinct summary of the current employer sanctions program and “E-Verify.”

I think Nolan is “right on” in his recommendation for more aggressive enforcement of wage and hour laws. No matter where you stand on the overall immigration policy issue, I think that we can all agree that U.S. employers should not be gaining a competitive advantage by exploiting migrant labor, whether documented or undocumented.

PWS

11-06-17

NEW POLL: Majority Of Americans Want DACA, Don’t Like Trump’s “Gonzo” Enforcement, DON’T Believe That Legal Immigration Should Be Drastically Cut, Reject Wall! — Want Border Security & Enforcement Of Employer Sanctions!

http://www.langerresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/1191a4DACAandImmigration.pdf

“Americans Back DACA by a Huge Margin. A vast 86 percent of Americans support a right to residency for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, with support crossing the political spectrum. Two-thirds back a deal to enact such legislation in tandem with higher funding for border control. Possibly in light of Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, disapproval of his handling of immigration overall reaches 62 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll. Just 35 percent approve. Additional hurdles for Trump are his demand for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico – again 62 percent oppose it – and substantial concerns about his immigration enforcement policies. Americans were asked whether they support “a program that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they arrived here as a child, completed high school or military service and have not been convicted of a serious crime,” all elements of DACA, established by Barack Obama by executive order in 2012. Support spans demographic groups, including three-quarters of Republicans and conservatives, 86 and 87 percent of independents and moderates and 97 and 96 percent of Democrats and liberals.”

**********************************

Read the complete summary of the ABC News/Washington Post Poll at the link.

While all polls, particularly those on immigration, must be looked at with some circumspection, these are great numbers to keep in mind when faced with the constant bogus claims from Trump Administration and GOP Congressional restrictionists that they are somehow representing the “national will” or “the people’s voice” with their out of touch policies and proposals.

Interestingly, one enforcement initiative that got widespread support was enforcing existing employer sanctions laws, something that neither GOP nor Democratic Administrations has been willing to do over the past three decades since they were in acted in 1986.

Nor does their Trump Administration appear to be putting any emphasis on this program. And, it’s easy to see why. Employer sanctions would involve going after U.S. businesses, some of the same folks who helped put Trump and the GOP in power. Some of them like the current system, which keeps many needed workers marginalized and dependent, so they can be exploited.

Perhaps more important, going after U.S.employers doesn’t do anything for the Trump/GOP racist base. Much better to sack up some decent productive Hispanic workers and count it as “law enforcement.” That’s what the racist xenophobes like to see.

PWS

09-28-17

NYT EDITORIAL: Like Preceding Administrations, Trump Happy To Punish Workers, But Not So Much Employers Who Violate The Laws — Why We Need Sensible Immigration Reform Including Legalization Now!

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/opinion/no-crackdown-on-illegal-employers.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170320&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=0&nlid=79213886&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0&referer=

“President Trump began his campaign assailing immigrants as ruthless lawbreakers who steal American jobs with impunity. To halt them, he has vowed to build a wall along the border with Mexico, hire thousands of new immigration agents, ramp up immigrant detention and subject visa applicants to even more rigorous vetting. His administration has been largely silent, however, about the strongest magnet that has drawn millions of immigrants, legal and not, to the United States for generations: jobs.

American employers continue to assume relatively little risk by hiring undocumented immigrants to perform menial, backbreaking work, often for little pay. Meanwhile, as Mr. Trump’s deportation crackdown accelerates, families are being ripped apart, and communities of hard-working immigrants with deep roots in this country are gripped by fear and uncertainty. As long as employers remain off the hook, a border wall and an expanded dragnet can only make temporary dents in the flows of undocumented immigrants.”

***************************************

The truth is pretty obvious. Employers and businesspersons vote and contribute to both parties. And, as we know, “money talks.” It’s also very clear that these workers are fulfilling a continuing need in our economy. So, why not get everyone “on the books,” have taxes withheld, and document them?

While I don’t  believe the Administration’s hype about undocumented migrants threatening our national security, I do think that it is a good idea to find our exactly who we have here, get them their own working Social Security numbers, withhold Federal and State taxes, Social Security, and Medicare as appropriate, and run fingerprint and background screening to weed out any serious criminals or genuine security risks.

It’s long past time to ditch the xenophobia campaign and have the parties work together for meaningful immigration reform, including some type of legalization, reasonable and effective enforcement, and an independent U.S. Immigration Court.

PWS

03/20/17