LatinaLista — When it comes to solving the issue of illegal immigration, people are being duped into thinking that all the fault lies with businesses.
After all, if jobs weren’t offered to undocumented immigrants they wouldn’t come, right?
The vast majority of people who risk their lives and savings to enter the U.S. illegally come not knowing where or if they will find a job. The difference between them and the 7.381 million people who are officially unemployed in the nation is that undocumented immigrants have no pride but to survive and they will accept jobs that — yes, again with the cliche — most Americans won’t do.
However, it’s not a cliche. It’s a fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has documented in their Employment Situation summaries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
About 1.6 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally attached to the labor force in February. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 396,000 discouraged workers in February, about the same as a year earlier. Discouraged workers were not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them.
What’s obviously clear from this data is that #1. The “marginally attached” outnumber the official unemployed rate and #2. Both groups of marginally attached people are looking for specific jobs â€” something that fits their skills and provides the income for the quality of life they’ve become accustomed to.
Otherwise, what else could explain the difference in employment rates between undocumented immigrants and those considered “marginally attached” to the workforce?
At about this time, the tired argument due to surface is: The Marginally Attached aren’t working because they refuse to work for “immigrant wages.”
It’s a hollow argument at this stage of the game.
(Source: HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce)
Too many businesses know that there are heavy penalties on the horizon for employing undocumented immigrants. Campaigns, such as HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce are gearing up to educate businesses about the employment verification system that the government is poised to pass in Washington.
It’s known by its acronym SAVE and it stands for Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2007.
Yet, the title of the bill is misleading. As is usual in Washington, the bill is tacked with numerous other provisions that have nothing to do with verification but everything to do with enforcement.
Is enforcement bad? Of course not, as long as it doesn’t create an environment that empowers one group over another.
Isn’t that why we have law enforcement? To be the middle-person, per se, for enforcing the law?
With SAVE, some of the expected provisions of the bill, that have surfaced before in other sad attempts at immigration reform are:
Sets forth border security and enforcement provisions, including provisions respecting: (1) increases in Border Patrol and investigative personnel; (2) recruitment of former military personnel; (3) use of Department of Defense (DOD) equipment; (4) infrastructure improvements; (5) aerial and other surveillance; (5) a national strategy to secure the borders; (6) emergency deployment of Border Patrol agents; and (7) expansion of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism along the northern and southern borders.
Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act and specified maritime law sections to revise alien smuggling provisions.
Sets forth provisions respecting border security on certain federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior.
Border Law Enforcement Act – Authorizes a border relief grant program for a tribal, state, or local law enforcement agency in a county within 25 miles of the southern border of the United States.
Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to make the basic employment eligibility confirmation pilot program permanent.
Sets forth conditions for the mandatory use of the E-verify system.
Requires: (1) employer/employee notification of social security number mismatches and multiple uses, and related information sharing with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and (2) establishment of electronic birth and death registration systems.
But what is frightening, among other aspects of the bill, is that: it provides for “a media campaign to inform the public of changes made by this Act including a multilingual media campaign explaining noncompliance penalties.”
What’s so bad about this provision is that it’s not just innocently informing the public about this Act but, in a very subtle way, or not, is granting a certain type of authority to people who feel inclined to take the law into their own hands.
Sound ridiculous? Unfortunately, there are reports already surfacing of this kind of interpretation.
This month in Providence, Rhode Island, store owner David Richardson overhead two customers speaking Spanish. As he was ringing up their purchase, he demanded to see the men’s Social Security cards.
Taken aback by Richardson’s behavior, the men told him that he had no right to be asking such questions.
What followed was a telling encounter underscoring the tensions in this country over immigration and ethnicity.
When Genao told Richardson â€œhe did not have the right to ask all those questions,â€ Richardson pulled out a membership card for Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement, a group that seeks curbs on illegal immigration.
Then, he lifted the phone receiver and threatened to call immigration authorities, Genao said.
â€œHe [Richardson] grabbed the phone and said, â€˜I can call ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] anytime I see an illegal immigrant,â€™â€‚â€ said Genao. â€œHe also said, â€˜I can make a citizenâ€™s arrest.â€™â€‚â€
Unbeknownst to Richardson, both men were US citizens. But all Richardson saw were two guys who spoke Spanish and automatically surmised they were undocumented.
It’s a scenario that is bound to be played out more and more as Congress refuses to address the presence of undocumented immigrants and insists on passing legislation that discourages dialogue and seeking solutions and depends entirely on sanctioning intimidation and granting authority to a small group for whom taking the law into their own hands is what they perceive the government wants them to do.
A question that begs to be asked is: Where have our leaders disappeared to?