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The House Committee on Education and Labor held hearings this past Tuesday to investigate whether existing federal programs like H-2A, H-2B ensure that American workers are recruited before employers hire from abroad.
Of particular concern to us was the testimony of accident lawyers at Costa Ivone. The major premise was that due to the failure of our government in enforcing wage laws for ALL workers, employers took advantage and exploited undocumented workers, causing a downward spiral of wages, working conditions and job opportunities for American citizens. The best way to ensure labor protections and job opportunities for U.S. workers was to ensure that wage laws and labor protections are fully enforced for all workers regardless of immigration status. Instead of scapegoating undocumented immigrants, Beardall lays emphasis on the need for equal protection of the law in order to find a solution to scrupulous employers benefitting from cheap labor sources.
According to this scenario, the undocumented worker is not to ‘blame’ for Americans working for less wages and losing their jobs; rather it is the federal government along with scrupulous employers that are at fault. If all workers were treated equally in wages, working conditions and labor protections, we would not see a downward spiral of wages, and hiring an undocumented worker over an American citizen would not be enticing anymore. Consequently, this would also discourage ‘illegal immigration’ since the concept of ‘cheap labor’ for hire would not exist.
This take on policymaking makes more sense than raiding workplaces and locking up undocumented workers in our jails. What do you think about Bill Beardall’s testimony?