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A Reader Writes:
I heard an interesting story over Christmas. Some of my cousins knows a man who operates an auto shop, in an old building that used to be a grocery store. A large portion of the floor was covered by asbestos tile. One day the owner calls up and says "I need to have some work done on the building, can I send some guys over for a few hours tomorrow?" Two Mexicans show up with hammers and scrapers, rip up the asbestos tile and put it in black plastic trash bags, and then presumably it goes in somebody's dumpster. As one of my relatives said, it was either that or a $50,000 abatement job.
Now, there is no guarantee that two legal American workers would not have done the same thing, but there is a better chance they would have said, "Hey this is asbestos. No way am I doing this."
Hiring illegals is of course in itself illegal and condemnable, but on top of that, if you want to do something shady, you can much more easily do it if you have workers who don't know, if they do know couldn't care less, and have motivation to keep quiet about things.
The owner of this building saved a very small amount of money for the wages, benefits, taxes and insurance he would have paid for legal workers—no more than, maybe, $200—but he saved tens of thousands he might have otherwise had to pay for a professional asbestos removal job with legal workers. I think this kind of thing is a big motivation for the desire to use ignorant, transient foreigners for so much work.