Making employers responsible might curb illegal hiring
Law enforcement authorities agree that one key to curbing certain types of crime is to sever the supply-and-demand link. Fewer drug addicts means less demand for pushers and thus, fewer of them, for example.
Federal officials don’t seem to be doing a very good job of that in regard to illegal immigrants. Critics of policy say a case in point is the massive raid on seven food-processing plants in Mississippi several days ago.
A small army of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents surrounded the plants, one by one, and arrested about 680 workers alleged to be in this country illegally. It should be noted that despite outcries of “inhumane” treatment, ICE officials went out of their way to ensure none of the immigrants’ children were left alone at any time.
But as ICE continues processing the immigrants arrested in the raids, owners of the plants remain free — despite the fact they, too, are alleged to have broken the law by hiring “undocumented” workers. At last report, no charges had been filed against plant owners or managers.
Critics of policy regarding those who employ illegal immigrants say it is too easy for the companies and their managers to dodge responsibility. The law states that for them to be held liable, they must have known they were hiring undocumented workers.
“The ‘knowingly’ term has proved to be a huge defense for employers,” an official at the Migration Policy Institute told The Associated Press. “The employer says, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t know they were unauthorized.'”
During fiscal 2018, ICE was able to convict just 49 company managers for breaking the law in hiring illegal immigrants.
Perhaps Congress should take another look at the statutes, in an effort to make it more perilous for companies and their managers to hire people in this country illegally.
Many of those who sneak across our borders do so in the knowledge it will not be difficult for them to find work in the United States. Cracking down on those engaging in unscrupulous hiring practices could make coming here illegally far less attractive.