May 29, 2005


Employers of Illegal Immigrants Face Little Risk of Penalty (Anna Gorman, May 29, 2005, LA Times)

Nearly every day, immigrants newly arrived from Mexico pick up job applications at Car Wash on Sunset.

Owner George Garcia insists that they provide proof, such as Social Security or green cards, that they are authorized to work. What he does not do is pick up the phone to see if the documents are phony.

"I run a business," he said. "Why is it my job to kick people out? It is not my responsibility to figure out who is legal and who is not legal. It's their job to stop them at the border."

Garcia doesn't worry about being fined or arrested by immigration authorities. Even if federal agents did raid his Los Angeles carwash and arrest his undocumented workers, it wouldn't take long to replace them.

"If I lost 20 guys," he said, "within a couple of days I'd have new guys."

The escalating debate over illegal immigration focuses primarily on those who sneak across the border, not on the jobs that lure them here or the people who hire them. When authorities do crack down on employers, it often is to stem terrorism, human smuggling or large-scale criminal operations.

In fact, the owners of hotels, farms, restaurants and retail stores who hire illegal workers — never widely sanctioned to begin with — now face a negligible risk of being penalized.

From 1993 to 2003, the number of arrests at work sites nationwide went from 7,630 to 445. The number of fines dropped from 944 in 1993 to 124 in 2003.

About 7 million illegal immigrants worked in the U.S. last year, said the Pew Hispanic Center, a research organization

Think Tom Tancredo wants to bus his own table and wash the dishes when he goes out to eat?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 29, 2005 4:45 PM

Where I eat regularly - a nice steakhouse in North Carolina - there are zero Mexican coolies working.

Posted by: Bartelson at May 29, 2005 7:18 PM

Out front.

Posted by: oj at May 29, 2005 7:24 PM

Amen, oj.

Posted by: mike beversluis at May 29, 2005 8:14 PM

If we didn't have illegal alien labor, then wages would rise to the level required in order to attract American workers. Of course, this would be good for such workers, and those of us forced to pay higher prices would have no moral justifiction for complaining.

Posted by: George at May 30, 2005 12:49 AM


You gonna tell your kids to mow lawns and wash dishes?

Posted by: oj at May 30, 2005 12:57 AM

The fact remains that you can get good employees to be bank tellers, cooks and security guards for $10hr, but you can't get a responsible janitor, dishwasher or busperson for the same wage. Illegals will do such work for $8.00hr. If I pay dishwashers $10 or $11hour, I would have to raise cooks to $13 or $14hr even though they are currently willing to work for much less. Even at the higher rate I doubt that I could get responsible employees for these positions. The problem is that native workers have no respect for menial labor because their self esteem is so much higher than their skills and abilities. I'm all for the immigration, I just wish we would put the controls in place to legitimize such workers before they get here.

Posted by: Pat H at May 30, 2005 1:14 AM

OJ--Of course Tancredo is not doing that kind of work now. Neither he nor Vicente Fox or any other person is likely to do menial labor for hire when they have more valuable or lucrative things to do. Perhaps you never did menial labor, but many of us have. When I was a teenager and into my 20s, I washed cars, caddied, washed dishes, waited tables, mowed lawns, shovelled snow and did lots of menial labor up until the point where my time was more valuable and I began doing other things to make money.

Posted by: Kurt Brouwer at May 30, 2005 2:57 PM

Mr. Brouwer;


Posted by: oj at May 30, 2005 3:41 PM