Human Events Blog

Protecting the Rights of Illegal Workers

Fox News reports on the latest adventures of our Labor Secretary – and when I say “our,” I don’t necessarily mean Americans:

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has overseen a number of signed agreements between U.S. agencies and foreign officials pledging to give migrant workers the full protections of U.S. workplace laws — regardless of their legal status — and she says her department will uphold them.

“No matter how you got here or how long you plan to stay, you have certain rights,” Solis said at an event unveiling the latest agreements on Monday in Washington.

Solis says foreign workers need to know their rights, so that they can lodge complaints without fear that they will be fired or deported. She believes the signed agreements with countries like El Salvador and Mexico will serve to “remove those fears.”

Solis went on to claim that her actions aren’t really all that different from those undertaken by previous Labor Secretaries, in both Republican and Democrat administrations.  This argument was not welcomed by Phil Kent of Americans for Immigration Control, who sees the problem as “bending over backwards to help and promote black market labor.”

But critics argue that regardless of which party advocates for the written agreements, the policy is wrong. They also note that the Labor Department’s own website states that businesses may only hire workers who are U.S. citizens or those who are in the country legally.

Kent says it’s also a slap in the face to immigrants who try to go through proper legal channels for naturalization, saying they must ask themselves whether it’s worth it to immigrate legally.

“Why did I bother to go through six, seven years of this to become a citizen when you have people like Secretary Solis and the Obama administration just thumbing their nose at the law — and the American worker?” Kent said, describing how legal immigrants may respond.

The Labor Department’s actions will also provide a set of predictably dismal incentives to illegal immigrants.  Obtaining legal citizenship is hard work.  Why bother when you can enjoy the vast majority of citizenship’s benefits without any of the obligations… and even look forward to special benefits actual citizens do not enjoy, such as the DREAM Act’s genius idea to give in-state tuition rates to illegals?  Why stay in your own country when Uncle Sucker is more eager to be at your service than your own government, and the odds of suffering serious consequences for slipping across the border are virtually zero?

But perhaps Secretary Solis can answer another question for me.  The elaborate protections she wants to offer illegal aliens sound like they would be rather labor-intensive for the government.  U.S. workplace laws are very complex, and they require a veritable army of bureaucrats to write, update, disseminate, and selectively enforce.

Now, it was just the other day that President Obama imposed DREAM Act amnesty by fiat, essentially abandoning attempts to prosecute violations of immigration law, except in the case of felons… such as President Obama’s Uncle Onyango, who was busted for drunk driving, cheated on his taxes, defied a deportation order, and yet somehow obtained a Social Security Number and driver’s license.

When this executive amnesty was issued, this was the reason given by the White House, as reported by Fox News:

Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, wrote on the White House blog that the review would “clear out low-priority cases on a case-by-case basis and make more room to deport people who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk” — while ensuring the low-priority cases are kept “out of the deportation pipeline in the first place.” 

Describing groups of people similar to those targeted in the DREAM Act, she said the low-priority list would include “individuals such as young people who were brought to this country as small children, and who know no other home,” as well as “individuals such as military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel.” 

She said that with more than 10 million people in the country illegally, the strategy is meant to focus limited resources on those who pose the greatest risk

(Emphasis mine.)  So, we’ve got such limited resources that we can’t process flagrant violations of immigration law, but we’ve got scads of resources to extend the full panoply of the bloated Labor Department’s workplace laws to illegal aliens?

Big Government is always understaffed when it comes time to do its duty.  When it comes to pursuing the socialist agenda, however, money and manpower are no object.

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