Who really benefits from immigration reform?
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According to the “Hillary for America” web site “The Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision on DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) was a heartbreaking reminder of how high the stakes are in this election.” Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights Hillary Clinton: Biden less 'constrained' than Clinton and Obama due to prior administration Biden's unavoidable foreign policy crisis MORE, at the National Immigrant Integration Conference in Brooklyn, NY in December 2015, discussed her commitment to comprehensive immigration reform with a path to full and equal citizenship, as well as how she would defend the president’s executive actions on immigration and go further.

Who benefits the most from this proposed “path to full and equal citizenship” for illegal immigrants, defined by some as amnesty? Of course, a majority of our political representatives and their election campaigns will show the immigrant children, the grandmothers and the potential for “splitting the family apart.”


But is it their altruistic motives that are at the heart of their cries for immigration reform, or are there more obscure motives, something driven by factors other than their proclaimed concern for people’s welfare?

The Des Moines Register, in a December 14, 2006 article entitled, "Swift Raid, Largest in American History," reported that in December, 2006, the federal government raided six meatpacking plants in the Midwest. They arrested over 1,200 employees, or about 9% of the total workforce. This followed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement inquiries at these plants in the preceding weeks, resulting in 400 additional illegal workers abandoning their jobs. This would be a 12% rate of illegal immigrant employees.

Jerry Kramer, in a November 2009 article for the Center for Immigration Studies entitled, “Labor Market Effects of Immigration Enforcement at Meatpacking Plants in Seven States” reported that a seventh plant in North Carolina was raided by ICE agents in 2007, resulting in the arrest of dozens of illegal aliens. In both of these incidents, the later shifts experienced extensive absentees as hundreds of workers failed to report for work fearing further ICE raids in search for illegal alien workers.

Fernando Quintero reported “Loss For One Is Another's Gain, Applicants line up to fill jobs left empty by Swift plant raid” for the Rocky Mountain News on December 20, 2006, that subsequently, there were lines of applicants for these jobs “out the door” who were U.S. citizens and legal immigrant holders of “green cards.” The Des Moines Register article further states “The Marshalltown plant raised its starting wage from $9.55 to $11.50 in an attempt to fill the vacancies, said Jim Olesen, the union’s local president.” Besides wage increases of about 20% for these workers, there are also reports that the working and safety conditions increased.

The legal jeopardy for companies which hire illegal immigrants is significant. According to LegalMatch.com:

“Hiring illegal immigrants can lead to many severe penalties, such as:

  • Criminal and civil fines

  • Loss of business licenses.

Most fines are broken down to the following:

  • First offenders can be fined $250-$2,000 per illegal employee;

  • For a second offense, the fine is $2,000-$5,000 per illegal employee;

  • Three or more offenses can cost an employer $3000-$10,000 per illegal employee. A pattern of knowingly employing illegal immigrants can mean extra fines and up to six months in jail for an employer.

This does not include “harboring” illegal immigrants, or employing ten or more illegal immigrants in one year. Harboring an illegal immigrant can lead to ten years of prison time.

Additionally, employers should be aware of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Employers can be sued under the act for hiring illegal immigrants, and can face large settlement deals.”

However, these sanctions are not consistently enforced. As reflected in the Homeland Security Inspector General February 2014 report entitled, U.S. ICE’s Worksite Enforcement Administrative Inspection Process, “Inconsistent implementation of the administrative inspection process, plus the reduction of fines, may have hindered HSI's (Homeland Security Investigations) mission to prevent or deter employers from violating immigration laws.”

The report further states under “Why This Matters”: “There were an estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2011. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) prohibits employers from employing individuals whom they know are not authorized to work in the U.S. and also established civil sanctions and fines for employers who do not comply with the law.”

With this as background, can one question “Who benefits” most from these illegal immigrant workers? Besides U.S. citizens muscled out of jobs, it would appear that when illegal workers are a significant portion of a work force, wages are depressed with lower working conditions and safety standards. Both of these also favor the corporation’s bottom line.

This increase to the bottom line must be lucrative for the Wall Street corporations to jeopardize incurring extensive fines and criminal exposure of corporate management. Corporations also have greater control over the workforce. If illegal workers strike, they will just be fired and replaced, if illegally abused or fired they have no recourse to civil litigation.

One cannot read about this issue without politicians calling for “comprehensive immigration reform.” This is usually coupled with an extensive discussion of breaking up families, the vast majority are not criminals, the illegal immigrants are hard working, and they work in jobs most Americans would not take. Of course there are two sides to each of these arguments. Between 2000 and 2014, over 10 million legal immigrants were sworn in as naturalized United States citizens.

What exactly is it that these over 10 million legal immigrants can do under the present conditions and laws to follow the current path to United States Citizenship that the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants can’t do without providing “comprehensive immigration reform?”

But it is also of note that these calls for “comprehensive immigration reform” would absolve the corporations of their civil and criminal liability for employing illegal aliens. And that is potentially worth billions in profits, billions in uncollected civil fines by the US Government, eliminating the potential of criminal charges of managers and the billions in criminal forfeiture under the RICO statutes.

So are the calls for “comprehensive immigration reform,” or Hillary Clinton’s assertions that “she would defend the president’s executive actions on immigration and go further,” altruistic in nature or, as we have often seen in many other government actions, motivated by the elimination of civil and criminal risk for the corporations with the boosting of their corporate profits.

Are these calls by our politicians echoing the voices behind the Wall Street corporate “campaign contributions?" Are the elimination of the civil and criminal consequences under any amnesty plan, as stated by the Hillary for America web site, a “… reminder of how high the stakes are in this election” for the profits of the Wall Street corporations and clemency for their management?

John M. DeMaggio is a retired Special Agent in Charge and retired Captain in the U.S. Navy. The above is the opinion of the author and is not meant to reflect the opinion of the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Government.


The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.