Sunday, July 6, 2008

Illegal Immigration and Big Business

Three years ago, the United States had a massive immigration reform debate on a bill (sponsored by Presidential Candidate John McCain) that ultimately failed. Since then, there have been a large number of local and state laws made to try to discourage illegal immigration,, and a lot of pressure on the federal government to enforce laws already on the book.

One of the big grievances? Employers who give illegal immigrants work. They’re made out to be the bad guys in this story, as they provide iillegal immigrants with their livelihood by giving them low-wage jobs out of single-minded greediness.

But it ain’t that simple…

A human resources manager who worked for the company a decade ago hired a number of workers without conducting an extra check of their documents with the Social Security Administration, the executive said. Now she has received notices from the agency of mismatches in the identity documents of 20 workers who were hired 10 years ago, out of 90 workers on the assembly floor today.
Because of the antidiscrimination rules, the executive cannot check to be certain that the 20 workers, mainly Hispanic women, are illegal. Moreover, they have advanced through training, she said, and excel at their jobs, which require the repetitive assembly of tiny parts by hand, often under microscopes

The legal infrastructure in place isn’t that conducive to making sure that your workers are legal. Apparently, a large number of companies can hire illegal immigrants purely by accident, and won’t be able to check up to see if documentation checks out because it is illegal to question an immigrant;’s legal status after already being hired.

Conundrum? Yes indeed.

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