A project of the Center for Community Change

Workers Criminalized, Employers Untouched

From a ImmigrationProf Blog today comes a commentary on the lack of employee convictions in the wake of the flurry of recent immigration raids.

Undocumented workers continue to face horrific consequences (including the new tactic of conviction of criminal offenses), while the employers remain unscathed by the law.

Statistical silence on the issue of employer criminal sanctions is not surprising.  Truth is that ICE does not spend many of its resources prosecuting employers, despite what is reported in the media immediately after a raid. And the reality of how raids are conducted suggests that employer prosecutions are hardly a priority.  Otherwise, why would the government remove and convict practically all the witnesses it needs to build a case against the employer – the workers themselves.

ICE continues to wage war on immigrants without addressing the root issues of workplace standards, living wages and job improvement. Scapegoating hard-working immigrants will not deter these employers from exploiting and abusing anyone in the future.

But the mainstream media remains focused on the spectacle of the raids, shouting that ICE is tracking down “illegal” people and perpetuating the myth that these raids are “working”.

But what does “working” mean? If it simply means a horrid fate for the undocumented workers and their families caught in the raids, then yes.  But if it means actually improving jobs and work conditions for U.S. workers or deterrence of bad practices by U.S. employers, then think again!

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