The Sunday, July 6th piece, Employers Fight Tough Measures On Immigration, by Julia Preston, recites the same old, same old arguments, blatantly ignoring legal status. Crying especially loudly since the Federal government has been cracking down more lately on illegal aliens, the article cites these demands by businesses:
"Business groups have resisted measures that would revoke the licenses of employers of illegal immigrants. They are proposing alternatives that would revise federal rules for verifying the identity documents of new hires and would expand programs to bring legal immigrant laborers."In short, keep the status quo. And demand heavy-handedly that their demands be met. The claim that failure to allow illegal aliens in the work place will "hurt the economy" is especially disingenuous—it means of course, the economy of those who are using cheap imported labor to pick the pockets of American citizen workers.
"In Oklahoma, chambers of commerce went to federal court and last month won an order suspending sections of a 2007 state law that would require employers to use a federal database to check the immigration status of new hires.
In California, businesses have turned to elected officials, including the Democratic mayor, Antonio R. Villaraigosa, of Los Angeles, to lobby federal immigration authorities against raiding long-established companies."We know about Mayor Villaraigosa. His loyalty is obviously to Mother Mexico and the illegal aliens that now dominate his jurisdiction. In his whining letter to Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, he reportedly criticized ICE for " aiming raids at 'established, responsible employers' in the city and urging him to focus on those with a record of labor violations."
But doesn't hiring illegal aliens mean you have a de facto record of labor violations?
Long time open border advocate Tamar Jacoby has been set up in a new foundation, ImmigrationWorks USA. She says, according to the NYT article: "These employers are now starting to realize that nobody is in a better position than they are to make the case that they do need the workers and they do want to be on the right side of the law." Right side of the law means wrong side for American citizens who are supposed to be businesses' customers. How does that work, Tamar? Not for me or Americans.
Way down in the article's middle, we are finally allowed some rational voices.
"After years of laissez-faire enforcement, federal immigration agents have been conducting raids at a brisk pace, with 4,940 arrests in workplaces last year. Although immigration has long been a federal issue, more than 175 bills were introduced in states this year concerning the employment of immigrants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
State lawmakers said they had acted against businesses, often in response to fervent demands from voters, to curb job incentives that were attracting shadow populations of illegal immigrants.
"Illegal immigration is a threat to the safety of Missouri families and the security of their jobs," Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, said after the Missouri Legislature passed a crackdown law in May. "I am pleased that lawmakers heeded my call to continue the fight where Washington has failed to act."This kind of dissent from Republicans is splitting that party. I suspect it will have great influence on my Democrat Party too. We are all Americans, wanting fair wages and not to be undercut with illegal OR LEGAL immigration.
The article goes into great detail on two arguments.
One: "The problem for business is that despite their complete compliance with the law, it is inevitable for employers with large numbers of immigrant workers that a certain percentage will be unauthorized workers using false documents," said Peter Schey, [Email him] a lawyer who represents two California companies facing scrutiny by federal immigration agents. "The system is just as broken for employers as it is for immigrants." Of course, who has been paying big money to Congress and the White House to keep the system broken? You got it.
Two: despite the generous salaries allegedly offered American citizens, businessmen can't find enough people. There is a labor shortage, they claim. Over and over.
"One employer facing this problem is the chief executive of a $20 million company on the outskirts of Los Angeles that assembles electronic parts. [An executive] said she had come to fear that her company — including its legal workers — is at risk of being crippled by an immigration raid.
"The executive spoke on the condition that neither she nor her company be identified by name, for fear of attracting immigration authorities. 'I can't replace those people'.....despite offering competitive wages from $9 to $17 an hour, the company had failed over the years in repeated efforts to attract non-immigrant workers because of the state's tight technology labor market and because of the nature of the work, exacting and tedious. If the workers were fired or arrested, she said, she could fail to meet her contracts."Guess this lady never heard of the Law Of Supply And Demand. $9 an hour, last time I looked meant a yearly pay of under $19,000, which in a high cost area is not a living wage.
Lady, pay more and raise your prices. You don't need the late Peter Drucker to give you that advice.
But instead of meeting the market price, the executive says, ""If we have to terminate 20 people, that's going to jeopardize 100 other jobs of people who are legal, Americans, people who are making a good living." Illegal or nothing. C'mon!
So the law is being somewhat enforced and the fat cats are screaming because they can no longer as easily put the cost of imported labor on the American taxpayer. But the Times article time after time in this billet doux to the advantage of hiring illegal labor lets the voice of outraged businesses dominate the story.
"California employers were shocked by the raid earlier this year at Micro Solutions Enterprises, an established manufacturer of printer cartridges that is based in Los Angeles and has more than 800 workers. Officials said 138 workers were arrested. In a message to his customers, Avi Wazana, the Micro Solutions owner, said the company had been verifying the legal status of all new hires through federal programs for nearly a year."Obviously, this story will be continued. But the major media, particularly print, with its sagging circulations and ad revenues, will continue to dance to the business tune.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.