You Work for Uncle Sam Now

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Current immigration laws are a moral farce, but the practical consequences on business owners and those who they deal with are not brought up nearly enough.  Let’s explore that for a moment.

Conservatives and other get-tough-on-illegal-immigration types insist that it is just to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants. They suppose that every employer has merely to take one look at the application and instantly tell that their new employee must be an illegal immigrant. Employers face hefty fines (up to $5,000 per employee in some cases) for hiring illegal aliens "knowingly," which has been interpreted by the courts in a very wide manner. For example, Wal-mart was fined $11 million for hiring a contractor who hired illegal immigrants - so if you deal with any sub-contractors you not only have to verify that everyone you hire is authorized to work in the US but that they do as well.

Such laws add another administrative "compliance" burden on employers, effectively drafting them into the US government to act as immigration officers. This costs businesses money and its effectiveness is extremely dubious. Even with the much-touted "E-Verify" program (which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will cost us $40 billion by 2018) there is an estimated 54% false positive rate - that means someone who is actually illegal has a 54% chance of coming back as authorized. For this, smaller businesses must create entirely new positions to ensure compliance, larger businesses must spend millions of dollars in auditing and compliance - costs that are passed on to us in the form of increased costs for goods and services.

"Stealth taxes" like this are a favorite tactic of politicians who wish to appear "tough on illegal immigration." It punishes employers - in some cases costing them millions of dollars in enforcement costs followed by million of dollars in lost revenue when an INS raid (which use of the E-Verify program does not protect against) deprives them of large portions of their work force. Then it might cost them millions of dollars in fines if it is determined that they were not zealous enough in determining the immigration status of their employees. These sorts of laws do not just violate the rights of employers to hire the best labor for the cheapest price, but cost us all untold amounts of money for absolutely no effective outcome. 

Comment (1)

Since business men and women have been accepted the label of being morally evil(Self Interested),they will take any government program that shackles them, and thank the government afterwards for saving their wretched souls.

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