2007 December 30 Sunday
Employer Enforcement On Immigration Comes To Arizona

A law with real enforcement teeth to get employers to stop hiring illegal aliens is going into effect on January 1, 2008 and employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens can lose their business license.

Businesses knowingly employing illegal immigrants face corporate death penalties.

The first offense can result in a 10-day suspension of a company's business license. The second offense can mean loss of the business license altogether. The law is widely viewed as the toughest of more than 100 passed by states and municipalities nationwide since the summer to crack down on illegal immigration.

Employers can comply by checking all applications against a US federal database.

The state sanctions law is the toughest in the nation. It is aimed at turning off the job magnet that has drawn more than 500,000 undocumented immigrants to Arizona. In addition to punishing businesses for knowingly employing illegal workers, the measure requires employers to use a federal online computer program known as E-Verify to check the work eligibility of all new employees hired after Jan. 1.

If employers refused to hire illegals then the illegal aliens would stop coming and, in fact, would turn around and go home. In fact, self deportation by illegals is already accelerating. If Arizona's law is not overturned in court it could cut the number of illegals in Arizona and set an example for what could be done on a national scale.

Arizona has a huge illegal alien problem.

Arizona stands out in illegal hires about 10 to 12 percent of the workforce. This border state with only 6.2 million people has more illegal immigrants than Illinois or New York. Two-thirds of Arizona's foreign-born population are not in the US legally, and the vast majority of them live at or near the poverty level.

The political impetus behind the law is due in large measure to the state's social services being overwhelmed in recent years by a flood of migrants evading tighter border security in California and Texas. The state, in other words, may represent the United States of the future, unless more is done to address the problem of both illegal (too much) and legal (too little) immigration. Since 2000, the US has seen its highest increase in immigrants, but more than half were illegal.

Cutting back on the supply of illegals will accelerate the automation of agriculture.

And one economist, Philip Martin at the University of California, Davis, predicts higher wages will force needed mechanization and increased productivity in farming and not significantly raise prices for produce. That was the case, he says, after the "Bracero" Mexican guest-worker program ended in the 1960s.

Lettuce field worker salaries have already risen with increased enforcement.

Simonds said, "What that means is you got workers who are not seasoned. They don't know how to work a field, and so production is way down across the board,. If you have new people showing up every day, you are going to spend half your day or more training them how to adhere to food safety standards."

Because employers have to compete more for workers, Rademacher said he has raised salaries from about $7 three years to close to $10 this year.

Waters said some growers are paying $15 to $18 an hour this season.

Some of the legal Hispanic field workers think like farmer workers union leader Cesar Chavez did and oppose the illegals since the illegals drive down wages.

Ramona Ortiz, 55, who has been working in the fields since she was 16, said that there are undocumented workers, contrary to growers who say most workers are documented. And she would like to see fewer of them.

"Too many workers hurt the people with documents," she said. "It holds the salaries down."

But that is why the employers want the illegals: to lower their costs of labor while sticking the rest of us with higher taxes to pay for welfare, police, jails, crowding, and other costs. Privatize profits, socialize costs. I say we put a stop to this.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 December 30 10:33 PM  Immigration Law Enforcement


Comments
John S Bolton said at December 31, 2007 3:12 AM:

If it's true that they're paying $10 for unskilled labor in the fields, and sometimes $15-18, which sounds doubtful, then one would expect that some of those operations will shift to higher-productivity crops, which would be good. Clinging to a kind of production that we've grown beyond, is uneconomic and sentimental, like wishing for steam locomotives to be run on a large scale. Arizona especially needs to dry up a lot of those fields, if they're going to have construction of new developments on the scale they're accustomed to.

tommy said at December 31, 2007 3:58 AM:
Because employers have to compete more for workers, Rademacher said he has raised salaries from about $7 three years to close to $10 this year.

Quick, somebody page Tamar Jacoby! This sounds like a case example of illegal aliens having depressed wages. That is something that we've been told repeatedly cannot happen in real life according to the laws of Mexinomics.


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