re: "We have an illegal employer problem."

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nimblecivet's picture

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has upheld the right of Arizona to deny a business license to those who have been found to hire undocumented workers, specifically in violation of the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007. "Also upheld was Arizona's requirement that employers check with the federal E-Verify program before hiring new workers." Arizona's tough law on hiring illegals upheld, by David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times.

The article explains that supporters of SB1070 are encouraged by this ruling. But, as quoted in this article, Linton Joaquin (general cousel for the Nation Immigration Law Center) said "State legislators considering this decision a free pass to enact legislation targeting immigrants are gravely mistaken." SB1070 is the law which would allow police officers in Arizona to detain individuals suspected of lacking proper documentation of citizenship. The Supreme Court could rule on SB1070 as early as next year.

I agree with Thom's assessment, that those who hire undocumented workers are at the root of the problem. Essentially, they are attempting to exploit NAFTA in such a way as to render labor laws moot. For the right wing, the law is a tool of power in the most crude sense of the term. When the law does not suit their interests they ignore it. When they gain power, they use it to undo liberal and progressive social gains and consolidate their own economic and political power. This dynamic is what is at the heart of the WTO, a treaty designed to render the U.S. Constitution moot.

Does Jan Brewer have connections to large employers who no longer need undocumented workers and are asking her to lead an immigrant scapegoating movement? I don't know if it's quite that simple, but then again maybe it is.

IMHO, this issue is another example of how no issue can be comprehended without understanding it in relation to other issues. We need to rebuild a progressive movement that recognizes the relationship between, for example, the issues of "free trade" and immigration. We need an activist and legislative agenda which integrates these various concerns into an effective counter-counter revolution.


Phaedrus76's picture
Imagine if we could find all

Imagine if we could find all the undocumented workers and deport them. The demand for cheap labor still exists, and more will run, swim or tunnel in. Now imagine if on Monday morning ICE raided 12 hotels, and some construction firms, and arrested all the managers and owners. The demand for illegal immigrants is gone.

douglaslee's picture


is another relative comprehension.


When the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 criminalized work for undocumented immigrants, it was a subsidy or gift to employers.  When working becomes illegal, it’s much harder for workers to organize unions, go on strike, and fight for better conditions. 

Immigration agents now check documents workers must fill out to get a job, and require employers to fire those whose documents are in question.  In Washington state, they did this in the middle of a union drive among apple workers, and fired 700 people.  That organizing effort was broken.  Smithfield Foods cooperated in raids and firings at its huge Tarheel, North Carolina meatpacking plant.  Workers only overcame the terror they caused when citizens and immigrants, African Americans and Mexicans, agreed to defend the jobs of all workers, and the right of everyone to join the union.  When they won their union drive as a result in 2007, it was the largest private-sector union victory in years.

Immigrants are fighters.  In 1992 the drywallers stopped construction for a year from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border.  They’ve gone on strike at factories, office buildings, laundries, hotels and fields.  Some unions today are growing, and they’re mostly the ones that know immigrant workers will fight to make things better.  The battles fought by immigrants over the last twenty years changed the politics of cities like Los Angeles, and are helping to make unions strong today.

nimblecivet's picture
Politics makes strange

Politics makes strange bedfellows?:

"The decision affirms the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had likewise upheld the state law. It is a defeat for the politically powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Obama administration, both of which had opposed the Arizona law.


The business group challenged the law, as part of a broad alliance that also included the Obama administration and advocacy groups including the National Council of La Raza." -Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Law Punishing Undocumented Immigrant Hiring, Michael Doyle, McClatchy Newspapers (at, May 26, 2011

 Does anyone remember who organized the "Day Without Immigrants" that challenged the immigration bill which Obama's proposal basically mimics? The fact that the National Council of LaRaza effectively is siding with the exploiters of undocumented labor demonstrates that the right wing depends upon a sense of dependency on the part of the lower strata of the economic strata upon the rich and powerful. "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." A principled response would have been to insist that the legislation be repealed to allow revision: imposing the demand that employers foot the bill for the process of rendering undocumented workers legal, including housing, legal costs, etc. Like that's going to happen. But if "La Raza" continues to promote a purist "full citizenship for all immigrants" position when not all of them necessarilly want that then they will (deliberately?) frustrate a resolution of the situation and facilitate the perpetuation of the current situation which is deteriorating. If no sort of reform is passed, such as what Obama is proposing, then undocumented workers will be stuck without any recourse and things probably don't look much better back home because of "free-market" (CAFTA/NAFTA) globalization.

douglaslee wrote: "Immigrants

douglaslee wrote:

"Immigrants are fighters.  In 1992 the drywallers stopped construction for a year from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border.  They’ve gone on strike at factories, office buildings, laundries, hotels and fields.  Some unions today are growing, and they’re mostly the ones that know immigrant workers will fight to make things better.  The battles fought by immigrants over the last twenty years changed the politics of cities like Los Angeles, and are helping to make unions strong today. "


poly replies: Immigrants, being the victims of a successful class war waged against wage earners in Mexico, Columbia and Central America recognize it and fight against it. . Americans probably won't until it's too late.

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

The goal of two and poor...seems on course.

"For one to have more money, another has to have less" - Friedman, "Money Mischief".

Perhaps immigrants have something to teach us.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

norske's picture
If the military dictatorship

If the military dictatorship which is the U.S. wished to curtail undocumented workers from Latin America from coming into the U.S.....the politicians and CEO's would cease their destructive laws, trade agreements, policies, and invasions which make it impossible for the people of Latin America to support their families.....Don't hold your breath.

nimblecivet's picture
Perhaps some kind of

Perhaps some kind of structured repatriation program geared to those immigrants who wish to return to their home can be negotiated unilaterally with Mexico and the other countries of the hemisphere. The risk of that sort of thing would be the emergence of a perpetually nomadic sector of the labor class. However, the cost of living is still artificially high in the U.S., so if an incentive can be created in the form of jobs being available at home many immigrants may chose to return home and be with their families (instead of working here and sending money). A transfer of U.S. dollars via a mass relocation may spur investment and growth in developing nations, which in turn may help stabalize the dollar. China, being geographically closer to the African continent, may view U.S. investment in the Western hemisphere as advantageous to their investment in the dollar. Meanwhile, their form of state capitalism may work well on the African continent. As with South Korea, non-industrialized nations may need a strong form of central governmental authority to spur and guide development. This in turn may help to alleviate Europe's immigration situation.

Another thing, a requirement to learn English is completely bogus. It has no basis in either the Constitution or federal law. People should be free to speak whatever language they can and want to. Just because somebody "learns English" (few will become truly proficient, so really its an unrealistic expectation designed to be an obstacle) doesn't mean that they will use it.

Maybe we ought to just send

Maybe we ought to just send each Mexican family $30 a month rather than loaning billions to their financiers to gamble with in financial markets.. Better than another Mexican financial bailout down the line..Job creation in Mexico has to come from the destitute bottom tiers. The upper tiers simply aren't interested.

Mexico is a country rich in natural resources, and possibilities. However, most of their "38 families" prefer throwing money at global financial markets...producing nothing, creating nothing. 38 families  own over 50% of Mexico's wealth right along with the political process.. "The rich need money so they can create jobs" LOL

The richest man in the world is a Mexican. Privatization of Mexico's telephone co. put him over the top. He snaped up the monopoly at bargain prices. No job creation...just a change of ownership..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".


nimblecivet's picture
This Alabama law reinvokes

This Alabama law reinvokes one of the points of conflict that the Sensennbrenner bill of '06 brought up, the criminalizing of interaction with "illegals". This bill is unconstitutional in that it violates all of our constitutional rights to associate with whom we please. It goes far beyond any redundancy regarding aiding the commission of a crime (the person is already here, so the "crime" has already been committed).

 " Among the provisions of the new law:

  • Public schools will have to confirm students’ legal residency status through birth certificates or sworn affidavits.
  • Illegal immigrants are banned from attending state colleges.
  • Transporting, harboring, or renting property to undocumented immigrants will be illegal."