Illegal immigrant labor is a performance-enhancing drug with wide side effects. By hiring illegals, companies get an edge over other firms that don’t. They buy cheap labor from individuals who have no civil rights whatsoever; they cannot complain if they are cheated on their paycheck, protest unhealthy working conditions or reject wages beneath the minimum federal wage level. If they do complain, they can be immediately detained and sent back to their countries of origin with none of the due process that would be accorded an American citizen. And so this keeps them in their place — a place of legal limbo — and gives U.S. firms access to what is essentially slave labor.
Before now, we’ve had a tacit agreement between big business and big government to leave the immigration issue unresolved. After all, illegal labor has acted as a subsidy to businesses and consumers of the cheap labor. But that arrangement seems to be cracking, and that’s a good thing. The American people want their borders defended and their rights protected by the government that they, the citizens, have elected. This is especially true in a recession, when Americans are facing unprecedented unemployment, debt and declining living standards.
The recent Supreme Court ruling was right for America — legally, factually and morally. But the Supreme Court’s vocal minority, along with a strange-bedfellows coalition of big business and civil rights organizations, would have you believe that a reasonable business regulation is an encroachment on the civil rights of legal immigrants. Nothing could be further from the truth. The regulations are narrowly tailored in accordance with federal definitions of “illegal” status, and they accord appropriate due process for the offending corporations. No one can be rejected for a job because they “look” illegal. But businesses have the additional responsibility of verifying an applicant’s immigration status. All of the normal civil rights protections for workers have been undisturbed by the ruling.