Sunday, July 6, 2008

Employers in USA fight measures against immigration

According to an article written by Julia Preston in the New York Times on June 6th, business groups are resisting measures that would revoke the licenses of employers who hires illegal immigrants in state legislatures, the federal courts and city halls. The employers just want to be able to contract immigrant laborers, why? It is simple: because they are needed.
"These employers are now starting to realize that nobody is in a better position than they are to make the case that they do need the workers and they do want to be on the right side of the law,” said Tamar Jacoby, president of the new federation, ImmigrationWorks USA.
With the raids in different states of USA, this need may have increased. At least 4,940 arrest were made in workplaces last year.

Voters have pressured state lawmakers to enforce more measures against employers giving jobs to immigrants, suposedly because immigrants are"a threat to the security of their jobs". But in many cases some jobs are only attractive to illegal immigrants.

The owner of a landscaping nursery in Littleton, Colo., experienced this kind of situation last winter.
Mike Gilsdorf advertised with the Labor Department, as he does every year, for 40 seasonal workers at market-rate wages to plant, prune and carry his shrubs in the summer heat. Only one local worker responded to the notice, he said, and then did not show up for the job.
Mr. Gilsdorf was able to fill his labor force with legal immigrants from Mexico through a federal guest worker program. But that program has a tight annual cap, and Mr. Gilsdorf realized that he might not be so lucky next year. His business could fail, he said, and then even his American workers would lose their jobs.
His group, Colorado Employers for Immigration Reform, is pressing Congress for a much larger and more flexible guest worker program.

But even thought some business owners are taking actions against raids and limitations for contracting immigrants, others are not aware they need to raise their voices.

“The silent masses of businesses out there should have been on the phone with their Congressional representatives calling for rational reform,” said Hobey Bauhan, president of the Virginia Poultry Federation, whose members include some of the biggest low-wage employers in the state. Virginia lawmakers ultimately adopted verification rules aimed at employers who systematically hire illegal

With the new measures, the employers find themselves in a legal paradox. Checking the legal status of a posible employee could be difficult too, because in USA antidiscrimination rules bar excesive examination of identity documents of new hires or checking the inmigration status of employees after they have been hired.

“The problem for business is that despite their complete compliance with the law, it is inevitable for employers with large numbers of immigrant workers that a certain percentage will be unauthorized workers using false documents,” said Peter Schey, a lawyer who represents two California companies facing scrutiny by federal immigration agents. “The system is just as broken for employers as it is for immigrants.”

In some cases, like in companies who has trained people for years to do specialized jobs, the situation is worse. These people, if found they are illegal, are arrested in raids, leaving his employers without skilled people and with difficulties to find new people with enough experience to fill this jobs.

But until there is a change in the view of the voters there will be no reform to permit immigrants who just want to work and make a living to work for employers who need to fill jobs that no American takes.

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