This concept is lost on most people, especially the ignorant. People in power or the wealthy exploit this issue and they have become too ignorant of the real world consequences of self-interest. The protections granted to undocumented immigrant workers extend to all workers in the United States.
Give them an inch, they take a mile.
Many industries are expressly reliant on undocumented or documented (prima facie) immigrant labor. Apparently our government has put forth inadequate laws on the matter of immigration policy that sufficiently addresses this issue. They have planted the seed. All it takes is the employer’s completion of form I-9 and the employer’s liability stops with the employee’s presentation and satisfactory requirement of documents (social security identification, and driver’s license) whether it is valid or not. If an employer knowingly hires an undocumented immigrant worker then maybe, just maybe, penalties are assessed by fines or imprisonment. If the employer unknowingly has hired an undocumented worker, then the employer is generally absolved of any wrongdoing 🤨. However, this creates the opportunity or incentive for abusive labor practices to germinate. Keep in mind that the impetus is placed on employer self-policing, enforcement of labor laws occurs when an employee files a formal claim of unfair or abusive labor practices to federal agencies🤔.
An overwhelming reluctance spreads to all employees due to labor market distortion — retaliation, socioeconomic status of the individual, and dependency. This contributes to why wages are depressed and do not keep pace with inflation.
In the landmark Hoffman Plastic Compounds Inc. v. NLRB decision in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants are not entitled to back pay and reinstatement under the National Labor Relations Act, or NLRA. The Court argued that allowing undocumented immigrants to receive full remedies under the NLRA would undermine IRCA’s objectives of eliminating undocumented employment and discouraging future undocumented immigration.
If you standby and allow them to erode labor protections of undocumented immigrant employees, then that erosion overlaps unto all employees. The same logic is easily applied to unfair compensation practices in industries known to employ undocumented immigrants, visa workers, and or minorities (because they are widely deemed the same with or without accent) in general. The carryover distortion is not only real it is blatant at times due to the distortion it creates in the labor market. No rational immigrant advertises that they are undocumented immigrants, so they would be hard to detect amongst fellow employees. If undocumented immigrants have no protections against unfair pay practices and they fear deportation, then this instance of reluctance to execute on those labor rights would absolutely depress wages for everybody else, as they are more than likely to basically grin and bear it out of self preservation.
All across America, employers are able to take advantage of U.S. workers by using our immigration system to exploit immigrant and undocumented workers. Moreover, given that many of the workers in these industries are immigrants, no matter how hard American workers try to lodge complaints against their employers, the widespread exploitation of undocumented workers will still result in poor wage and working conditions for the industry as a whole. This research supports the view that it is the broken immigration system, not the immigrants themselves, which leads to unlawful employment practices.