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Immigration Case Study

2157 words - 9 pages

As illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States continues to increase, state governments are choosing to shift the responsibility of investigating and policing undocumented labor to businesses themselves by requiring employers to utilize E-Verify, an eligibility verification system, and imposing harsh penalties on employers who continue to hire illegals intentionally or unintentionally. This requires both industry and city police departments to work in tandem in an enforcement capacity that used to be solely the role of federal agents. Such enforcement not only raises the cost of doing business, but places business owners in a position to make decisions that reflect ...view middle of the document...

A decade ago, illegal immigrants in the Southwestern states regularly landed jobs in agricultural, construction and hospitality industries simply by presenting bogus social security cards to employers. Social Security took in immigrant contributions knowing full well that accounts were falsified but failed to share information with Homeland Security (McCombs and Stauffer). Since the terrorist events of 2001, American citizens demanded a more secure border by passing statutes featuring harsh punishments to illegal immigrants and all who hire them. Arizona’s SB 1070 is the most famous example of anti-immigrant legislation and has been blamed for institutionalizing racial profiling, chasing 100,000 unauthorized immigrants out of state, and imprisoning 7000 illegals per year in private for-profit prisons (Miller). As part of SB 1070, all businesses are held accountable for checking eligibility of any new hires using E-Verify, a federally funded electronic database, or risk permanent revocation of business licenses, otherwise known as the “business death penalty.” (Nowrasteh, 11).
The E-Verify policy is a “regulatory obstacle” for businesses and therefore many are circumventing the mandate by avoiding E-Verify entirely, according to Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy specialist at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Policy. By volunteering information to the federal database, employers may set themselves up for penalties, protracted legal battles and disputes based on what may amount to small administrative errors. This policy has hit Arizona agriculture especially hard. Between 25% and 90% of all farm workers are unauthorized immigrants, and as a result of labor scarcity, labor intense crops such as melons, fruit and vegetables are avoided while less profitable crops are grown that can be harvested by machines. (Nowastay, 6-8) More than 40 percent of Arizona’s construction workers are Latino and 70 percent of those are foreign born, which means illegal laborers make up to 27 percent of Arizona’s home building industry (Costantini). Each investigative query on E-Verify costs $147, so simply doing a complete search on all one’s employees can put a company out of business (Nowrasteh, 3). In addition, there is no guarantee that an employer is home free simply because ineligibility is not ascertained upon the first try. Up to 54 percent of illegal immigrants submitted into the system were not red-flagged (Simon). Later, after an employee has gone through months of training and becomes invested in a business, E-Verify can surprise the employer with an update of ineligibility. Added costs and liabilities to hiring Latinos have thus led to racial discrimination and a preference for hiring native retirees or students. Since many have been employed for years (under falsified identities), terminating unauthorized workers only hurts business by artificially making employees hard to find. As a result,...

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