Accomplices in Crime: American Businesses Help Illegal Aliens Commit Identity Fraud, Bypass American Labor Laws

farm workers weeding spinachThe vast majority of illegal aliens, legal immigrants and guest workers come to America understanding that they will most likely spend their time working low-paying jobs under difficult circumstances. Predatory employers know this as well and force these immigrants to work long hours for low pay without benefits.

This is a problem across the country, from east coast carnivals to west coast orchards and farms. Employees mired in the system are known as “ghost workers.” Companies provide legal and illegal workers with falsified tax documentation, either stolen or counterfeit, while others readily accept whatever papers workers provide them.

Employing illegal aliens under false documentation allows companies to manipulate laborers who willingly work for very little. But it also proves profitable to hire American citizens as ghost workers since the employer can bypass federal and state workforce laws like mandatory overtime compensation.

Melon and corn farmers in central California are prime offenders, and use ghost workers to disguise their practice of hiring illegal aliens. The workers are then forced to work long days in excessive heat and poor conditions, making this a profession with the highest rates of heatstroke and chronic illness of any industry.

Participating in the ghost worker practice requires myriad criminal acts.. Aside from the initial illegal border crossing, the laborers and businesses engage in identity theft—a federal crime—along with workforce violations like a lack of proper insurance and safety practices that run afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to a recent report by University of Colorado professor Sarah Horton, these companies take advantage of the fact that their employees are committing identity theft to “deliberately manipulate their workers’ position of legal compromise in order to suppress WCI [Workers Compensation Insurance] claims.”

Another troubling practice the Horton study discovered is that many of these businesses also use the ghost worker avenue to abuse child labor laws. The work schedules for minors in California fields “routinely exceeds [the legally allowed maximum of] 48 hours [per week],” yet companies avoid paying them overtime by having them work one or two days per week under another person’s Social Security number.

Horton identifies this practice as the “two-identity system.” These minors are not only working in one of the most dangerous professions in America, they are receiving unfair wages for that work. However, since most of these youths are illegal or have few other employment options, they subject themselves to this employer abuse to avoid the prospect of becoming jobless in a foreign land.

Illegal immigration creates a domino effect where many other crimes follow. Accepting the unlawful act of illegal immigration means that government officials must also avert their eyes when other crimes are committed as a direct result. This creates an unjust system where it’s acceptable to ignore the crimes of illegal immigrants and the companies that employ them, while others are punished severely—identity theft carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison when applied appropriately. Such disrespect of the law only emboldens businesses that willfully take advantage of their employees.

As long as immigrants continue coming into the country illegally and willingly work in dangerous conditions, predatory businesses will bend or break the law and abuse their workers to make easy money. Strong E-Verify laws and vigorous enforcement of our existing laws can help stem the illegal practice of utilizing ghost workers. But unless these common-sense measures are complemented with a secure border and severe punishments for companies that knowingly help illegal aliens commit identity fraud, the practice will remain a blot on America’s reputation.

 

Comments

  1. avatar steve says:

    Mandatory e-verify for all employers would curb illegal employment practices.

  2. avatar Julia says:

    The only issue I have with this story is they only focus on one industry. Illegal Aliens have infiltrate various industries. Such as; hospitality, restaurants, construction, and lawn care, for which they have a growing majority.

  3. avatar Bill Webb says:

    Trump will build the “wall” which should have been done 20 years ago. That will eliminate 90% of the problems mentioned in this article. Any business convicted of participating in these schemes should be devastated and corresponding shareholders money, which is driving the system, should be confiscated, and government workers responsible for the missing oversight should go to jail. They are all as crooked as Hillary.

  4. avatar Leland says:

    We sent our manufacturing jobs to Mexico and imported their vegetable pickers with five kids who cost the taxpayers a fortune in schooling and medical and food stamp bills.

    There are a couple things that a lot of people don’t realize. One is that the actual cost of picking, the hardest job, is only a fraction of the total end cost in the supermarket. We could double the money for picking and it would add only a small amount to the total end cost, in a lot of cases ten or twenty cents per item. Far cheaper than the price of supporting those five kids for a year. All the people who never stop with the cliches like “without illegals lettuce would be five dollars a head” are simply repeating nonsense. There is no evidence, none, to support it.

    Not to mention, a lot of vegetables are picked by machine. Almost every tomato that is canned in this country is done by machine. We could also easily move to hydroponic farming for many products. They are grown indoors in containers, which requires much less labor and gives bigger yields. It’s a higher setup cost, but pays off in the end, and a lot of farmers are already doing it.

    I have never seen a “news” program more in the tank for Hillary than NBC. To listen to them, Trump worked hand in hand with Russia to hack the DNC. Why would they fear Hillary. We said don’t invade Ukraine and they did and we did nothing. Not that we should have, because we cannot police the world.

    • avatar Peter says:

      N you don’t realize that thise illegals are just. Fraction if the total problem but the outsourced jobs N manufacturer……to China N overseas…. you think small….

      • avatar Leland says:

        In the very first line I said “We sent our manufacturing jobs to Mexico..” Under any name you’re still a troll.

        • avatar Peter says:

          The ones to China is big N hurting us N worldwide….if Uam a troll you lack if worldwide socio economical culture….

    • NAFTA Reversal

      Under Trump NAFTA to be reversed…..Hades that’s better than Mexico building the wall….we’ll build it in that case.

  5. avatar gail says:

    $11.00 an hour is not low wage!