Monday, July 16, 2007

Jetton: Dealing with employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens

In his latest column, Missouri Speaker of the House Rod Jetton offers a thoughtful commentary on the problem of businesses who knowingly hire illegal aliens:

Last week, I wrote about how states can help stop illegal immigration by eliminating the incentives and rewards for people who jump our borders. I focused on making sure that only legal immigrants are allowed to attend our public colleges and universities. This week, I want to look at how we can stop the flow of illegal aliens into Missouri by making it harder for them to find employment.

Now, this issue can be a little tricky. First, we can't tolerate businesses and employers who go out trolling for illegal workers just to improve their bottom line. At the same time, we don't want to destroy honest employers who don't know they have illegal aliens in their workforce. And, we don't want to run off hard working immigrants who do everything right and come to this country through the proper channels.

Cracking down on employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens is a no-brainer. But what about those employers who accidentally hire illegal immigrants? Think it can't happen? Ask yourself one question, how would you know if one of your workers was here illegally? Remember, illegal aliens come in all shapes, colors and accents. You'd have to rely on the federal government to help you out. But, right now, they're just not very helpful.

I was told about one employer who hired three workers. When they turned in their paper work, the employer noticed their Social Security numbers were sequential. In other words, their Social Security numbers were exactly the same except for the last digit. This should have been impossible.

The employer called the federal government and asked them what to do. He was told not to fire the workers because he could get sued. That employer was in a bind. He was pretty sure he had illegal aliens working for him, but the federal government has specifically told him he couldn't do anything about it.

If you are an honest employer what are you supposed to do? We can't force our businesses, especially our smaller employers, to serve as the INS. They don't have the resources or time.

To solve this problem, the federal government needs to work with the states to develop a quick and reliable way to check the immigration status of potential workers. This way, honest employers can avoid hiring illegal immigrants and dishonest businesses will have no excuse to hide behind.

The number one reason people come to America illegally is to find a job. By helping employers identify illegal aliens we can make it virtually impossible for illegal immigrants to find work. As the jobs dry up, so should our illegal immigration crisis.

As always, if you have any questions on this or any other issue, I can be reached at 573-751-5912 in my Jefferson City office, or through the mail at: Speaker Rod Jetton, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO, 65102. Also, you can reach me through email at


Anonymous said...

do you honestly think employers go out and search for illegals to hire? There is already a program called basic pilot that checks ss cards and names but doesn't check identity theft.....thats what we need something to check how many places one name is being used before it can find out in 3 years or so and then the real person owes a million to the IRS for money they didnt really make themselves....

Anonymous said...

No. They don't go out and search for illegals. They don't have to and yes, they do know in advance that they're hiring illegals.

You're concentrating on identity theft because that's what happened here. I would suggest you consider the possibility that there are other ways to get around that.

Anonymous said...

an employer cannot say just because someone is brown that they are illegal. They are lots and lots of brown American born people. There is no way you can tell by someones skin color that they are illegal. So how else would you be able to tell this if not by skin color. And what other ways are you talking about???