Workplace Rights for Illegals? Be My Guest (worker)
Today, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis signed “partnership” agreements with representatives from Latin American countries in order to “protect the labor rights” of workers, both legal and illegal. Says Solis, “No matter how you got here or how long you plan to stay, you have certain rights. You have the right to be safe and in a healthy workplace and the right to a legal wage.” No need to rub your eyes, you read that correctly. Just in case you don’t believe it, look at what California Labor commissioner Julie Su said earlier – “Nationwide, Latino workers suffer more minimum wage and overtime violations than any other ethnic group. My job is to make sure that the labor laws of this state are enforced, the right to minimum wage, to overtime for all hours worked and the right to protection against retaliation when workers stand up for their rights.”
Americans who are already terribly dismayed by a 9% unemployment rate and escalating violence at the borders find statements like this very disturbing, and rightfully so. It certainly is disheartening to be searching (legally) for a job and come across business after business that has filled most of their labor with illegal immigrants. Su is quick to remind us that companies nationwide are violating the “rights” of ILLEGAL aliens, denying them minimum wage, overtime, and general workplace protections. She seems unable or unwilling to acknowledge the violations on the part of the ILLEGAL alien, who by definition is a criminal on our shores simply by being here. They are not protected by our laws, our constitution and are not welcome to participate in the benefits of being American (though we know many do anyway). Those privileges are not for people who break the law, they are for people who love America enough to put in the effort to actually become American – legally.
But hearing all this makes me think: perhaps we should be advocating for minimum wage and equal workplace rights for illegals. Maybe we should be the ones front and center, protesting beside these non-English speaking, non-tax paying, non voting, non-citizens. We should be advocating that employers be required to pay every illegal alien at least a minimum wage, health benefits, and overtime. Employers who knowingly hire illegals to fill their positions should be required to provide the same workplace conditions as they would for real Americans. They should be required to meet every OSHA standard and should be subject to special investigation by OSHA if they don’t. I say special because illegal aliens are a disadvantaged sub-group in America. Many don’t speak English (probably because they aren’t American) and are fearful of the authorities (probably because they aren’t American). They are reluctant to report workplace violations, so OSHA should provide frequent and regular monitoring of businesses that choose to hire illegal aliens. Furthermore, if an illegal alien decides to strike for better workplace conditions, their jobs should be protected, just like real Americans. They should also have the right to unionize without threat of retaliation, as Su described.
Why not give our illegal alien guests the same workplace rights as the average unionized, American worker? I say go for it. The reason American businesses turn to illegal labor in the first place is because arbitrary minimum wage laws, OSHA regulations, and union labor strangleholds have astronomically driven up the price of labor. Illegal aliens are illegal (gasp!), and so obviously not concerned with fulfilling the law in their work. So let them have their “American” workplace rights. Conservatives worry that this is “backdoor” amnesty…and maybe it is. However, why not engage in a little “backdoor” protection of our borders and drive out illegal aliens by making them just as costly as the average American citizen? If a business has to pay the same amount for an educated American citizen as it does for an illegal alien who doesn’t even speak English, who do you think they would rather hire? Of course, we would prefer that they could simply hire the American citizen a low but fair wage, but decades of Democrat “compassion” have made that nearly impossible. Maybe the best route to go is to make the hiring of illegals equally as costly.
The Obama Administration has made it more than clear that they have no intention of defending Americans and American businesses from the current, debilitating onslaught of illegal, uneducated labor. They have all but surrendered certain patches of sovereign American soil in some places along the border and prosecuted Arizona for their audacity in taking the issue into their own hands. If our own government won’t protect us, the citizens, but will protect illegal aliens, perhaps its time for a new strategy. Maybe we need to cure the problem using their own medicine – stifling regulations and crushing burdens of compliance and oversight. Let the illegals “enjoy” the privilege of being a regular American employee in the work place today. Not only may it drive employers back to good, old-fashioned American labor, the Tea Party may find some partners in these newly outraged (non)Americans.
Hey, at this point, it doesn’t sound so crazy.