Cracking down harder on illegal immigrants, say it aint so..?

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Jennifer Bjorhus has created a interesting article regarding cracking down harder on illegal immigrants, what are your thoughts? Who cares what I think but I can actually careless who lives where, let everyone be free.

By JENNIFER BJORHUS, Star Tribune
March 23, 2011

Nobody has been fired from ROC Commercial Cleaning in Oakdale -- at least not yet. Since they got word that federal immigration officials are poring over the company's employment records, some janitors have simply quit.

Co-owner Peter Mogren said he has no idea how many of his 129 workers might walk away or be fired. One employee said nearly the entire workforce will go.

Mogren is angry and bewildered. "This is new territory for me," he said.

His company is one of at least nine businesses across the Twin Cities undergoing a so-called immigration audit, part of the Obama administration's national crackdown on employers using undocumented workers. At least 2,000 people in the Twin Cities have lost their jobs in the last 18 months as a result of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) finding that they couldn't prove their eligibility to work in the United States.

The results of ICE's audits offer a warning to businesses, especially those using low-skill workers:

•The number of audits jumped more than 50 percent last year to about 2,200 from 1,444 in 2009.

•The average fine under Obama ($21,851) has increased about 30 percent compared with the Bush era ($16,666).

•Criminal arrests of employers have jumped 45 percent since 2008. Of the 196 employers arrested last year, 42 have been sent to prison so far, with sentences ranging from time served to 3 1/2 years. Many cases are pending.

Most recently in the Twin Cities, Harvard Maintenance Inc., a New York company with operations in Minnesota, began dismissing its janitors. The company will be forced to dismiss about 240 cleaners, more than half its local workforce, following an I-9 audit of its Twin Cities offices, the union representing the workers said last week. Harvard Maintenance has declined to discuss the matter.

Employers are frustrated

The surge in workplace inspections is a growing source of frustration for employers, said Bill Blazar, senior vice president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

"Either way, it creates heartache for the employees, heartache for the employer, and it doesn't do communities or the economies any good either," Blazar said. "I think this is evidence for further need of comprehensive immigration reform."

A local union is calling the firings an attack on the immigrant community. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 in St. Paul, which represents about 5,000 local janitors and maintenance staff, is holding a vigil Sunday at Incarnation Church in south Minneapolis.

At issue are ICE's I-9 audits, named after the employment form used to verify an employee's work eligibility. The audits are a centerpiece of Obama's new strategy to hold employers accountable, as the administration shifts from arresting undocumented workers in worksite raids to targeting employers and illegal workers through employment records.

Fired, but still in the U.S.

Employees fired after such audits typically aren't deported, as they were previously.

So far, the get-tough line hasn't impressed critics. They claim the arrests and fines are too weak given the estimated 8 million undocumented workers nationwide.

In one of the largest Twin Cities firings, about 1,200 janitors were let go from a unit of New York-based ABM Industries Inc. in 2009. ABM, with profits of $64 million, was ultimately fined about $108,000, roughly $90 per fired worker. The SEIU called it "a joke."

More than 300 businesses, large and small, have been audited and fined for violations since 2003, according to enforcement data that ICE gave the Star Tribune. Most of the businesses employ workers for physical work -- landscapers, dairy operations, roofers and restaurants, among others.

No employers in Minnesota have ever been arrested for criminal violations, according to ICE, and only four have been fined since 2003, including ABM. Chipotle Mexican Grill, the burrito chain that fired 450 ineligible workers from its Minnesota workforce starting last December, isn't on the list. ICE is still investigating the Denver-based company in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Koch Foods, one of the country's largest chicken producers with nearly $2 billion in annual sales, received the highest fine. ICE ultimately penalized the Ohio company $536,046 last year, following a 2007 raid that saw the arrests of about 160 undocumented workers.

ICE won't discuss specific employer fines. Regarding ABM's $108,000 fine, for instance, Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for ICE's Bloomington office, would say only that the fine was "a mutually acceptable agreement between ICE and ABM, which the parties have agreed to keep confidential."

ABM declined to discuss the matter.

John Keller, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, a St. Paul nonprofit, said ABM's fine seems "insignificant" compared with the heavy impact on its former employees. The fines simply don't provide enough of a deterrent while costing communities lost wages and wrecked families, he said.

The fines are usually the product of intense negotiations, said DeAnne Hilgers, an immigration attorney at Lindquist & Vennum in Minneapolis. Companies negotiate aggressively with federal officials to reduce punishments, she said.

"The initial fine is not the final word," Hilgers said.

Fines are 'powerful tool'

An ICE enforcement official in Washington who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the fines are a "powerful tool" for compliance. The goal isn't a huge fine, he said, it's compliance.

"These companies are very concerned about the dollar amounts," he added.

ICE typically fines first-time violators $375 to $3,200 for each undocumented worker knowingly hired, and fines first-timers between $110 and $1,100 per I-9 form that doesn't pass muster.

The range of fines is a matter of federal law, although ICE generally has discretion in meting them out. Last year, officials ended up handing out warning notices instead of fines in about 17 percent of the 2,196 audits, the ICE official said.

To Keller, fines don't get at the crux of the issue. Workers came here because employers have work, he said, and there's no legal channel for them to enter through.

"We still, at the end of the day, are not solving the problem," he said.

Fixing the real problem

Immigration groups differ mightily on what would be the best enforcement strategy.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a right-leaning group that favors limiting immigration, calls the fines "pocket change" and the arrest record unremarkable given the number of audits and the scope of the problem.

Penalties are paltry by design, said spokesman Ira Mehlman, who called the employer crackdown a "P.R. campaign" to make it look like the administration is serious about immigration laws. The fines need to be increased so they hurt companies, he said, and workers need to be deported.

Other groups argue that increased enforcement won't work because, absent broader reforms, I-9 checks just tinker with a broken system.

Marshall Fitz, director of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., agrees the ICE enforcement isn't working. The only way to fix the problem, he said, is to register undocumented workers so they can work here legally.

"Anything short of that is going to be ineffective," Fitz said.

Keller and the SEIU say current enforcement may be less harsh than when workers were deported, but it still takes a huge toll. Workers who lose their jobs are pushed to more unscrupulous employers who pay completely under the table, said Javier Morillo, SEIU Local 26's president.

Pushing workers aside

"What is being accomplished through these'' actions? "All we're doing is pushing people into a black market," Morillo said.

One of those workers is Marta.

Marta (not her real name) said she is an undocumented worker from Mexico who just lost her job at Harvard Maintenance, where she said she worked from 5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. cleaning offices in downtown Minneapolis for about $13 an hour. It was a good job that she held for more than three years, she said. The $900 paycheck every two weeks fed her family and made a home in their worn south Minneapolis apartment.

The single mother of two said most of the 240 Harvard Maintenance workers expected to lose their jobs are women. She worries about the future but tries to stay positive. She needs to find another job for her children's sake.

"We have to put the dreams and planning aside," she said.

In Oakdale at ROC Commercial Cleaning, Mogren, too, worries as the company's ICE audit continues. His staff earns $9 to $10 an hour cleaning large commercial buildings across the Twin Cities. He has contracts to fulfill.

"I've had families who have worked for me for 12 years without missing one freakin' day, and it would break my heart if I had to let them go," he said.

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683
 

rjfdube

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Also; if these tightwad big wig at these toontown martialed get the rich richer businesses would do as my customers is pay a fair wage and get a well managed, well paid, and fully American Citizen staffed business. We are an equal opportunity employer and welcome this action with open arms!!

:bigsmiley::AddEmoticons0423::D
 

Timothy

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My nieces husband is an illegal that is going thru the process now to become legal, he is a hard dedicated worker, I think they should make the system more user friendly so that those that want to work and raise families can do so.
 

crash1big

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I thinks its wrong to hire illegal immigrants for the sake of saving money. There are many of them that are good workers. As such they should be paid accordingly. So many business owners take advantage of these people and should go to prison. However illegal is illegal. I don't think our system needs to be changed, but rather enforced. Its difficult to incorporate so many people into an already failing system. We have a process that works. We need to use it. IMO:)
 

your good sons

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Where I live and work you see dozens of them waiting for someone to grab them for work. Most will not give up until sunset. They are out at sunrise. They wear sweatshirts from a variety of local painting, landscaping and yes, cleaning companies.
If they were not getting any work, they'd get up and leave. They will get into any trashed 1997 Astrovan or 2011 Navigator. Both the rich and the poor will hire them. Why? They work cheap and are basically disposable if they get injured on the job. What's not to like? These are the same people who gave away so many of our manufacturing jobs.
They have so much wealth (or aspire to) that they don't give a crap about the rest of us. They are the real problem.
 

chevy4wd

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I'm on the fence on this one folks!!! I did a debate on this back in college and in doing so, I had to prepare for both pro's an con's of having illegal immigrants. While many may want to simply deport them back to where they came from, many are close minded to how they really effect the economy. Let's take a quick look at the agriculture point of view. Many immigrants work in the fields... and yes for dirt cheap. These are jobs that many if not most people would have no desire to work in. The fact that they work for dirt cheap allows us to have cheap produce. Turn the table and now make these same jobs a union, better yet, lets just assume that we stop utilizing immigrants for these positions. In order to fill this hard labored position, it's gonna cost some money to fill the position. Many would probably want health benifits right??? Well guess what.... the cost of produce and what have you will have just sky rocketed!!! The cost to make a salad at home.... What maybe around $6.00??? If these positions are so desireable and in today's economy where unemployment has risen... Why don't we see non-immigrants at these jobs? Something to ponder on.... Is it because these jobs are not desireable and maybe many are waiting for a better position.... Last I heard many business are not hiring and many Americans are struggling looking for work, but why don't I see them in the fields, landscape, painting, or where ever you normally see immigrants.

Many people think that immigrants don't pay taxes... Is this in fact true?? The young lady in the article.... She's working hard, and maybe she might even have a fake social security (maybe a dead persons number) or what have you, but she does pay taxes. When she goes to the store... is she excluded from paying sales taxes? If she has purchased a car or home dose she not pay taxes? This may not apply to all illegal immigrants, but for those who have fake ID's and SS# don't they pay taxes and into the system? For those who live in states with Toll Roads, do they not pay the toll to drive on the roads? I don't think they want to try and take a chance and jump toll in a chance of getting pulled over and finding out that they are illegal, so in reality don't they help pay for the roads you drive on?

Like I said I'm on the fence on this one. Take them away and we'd end up seeing an increase in produce, services and whatever. Every empirical study of illegals' economic impact demonstrates... undocumenteds actually contribute more to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services. Moreover, undocumented immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy through their investments and consumption of goods and services; filling of millions of essential worker positions resulting in subsidiary job creation, increased productivity and lower costs of goods and services; and unrequited contributions to Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance programs, but on the flip side to that coin... The economic and social consequences of illegal immigration... are staggering... Illegal aliens have cost billions of taxpayer-funded dollars for medical services... Immigration is a net drain on the economy; corporate interests reap the benefits of cheap labor, while taxpayers pay the infrastructural cost... $60 billion dollars are earned by illegal aliens in the U.S. each year. One of Mexico's largest revenue streams (after exports and oil sales) consists of money sent home by legal immigrants and illegal aliens working in the U.S... This is a massive transfer of wealth from America - essentially from America's displaced working poor - to Mexico

I'm only addressing the Illegals from down south as the article above shows a sign and pictures immigrants crossing the borders and below it states "Prohibido" We could get in deeper a bout immigrants from other countries and their affect both pro and con's but this could get too deep.
Like I said I'm on the fence on this one and just wanted to see if I could open some eyes and look at it from a different prospective.

Ranier
 

Timothy

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Why does teenagers not take those farm jobs like we did when we was young? LAZY the work is to tuff for them so the mexicans take those jobs because they are some hard working people! 1 mexican teen is better harder workers than 5 average white or black teens!
 

MyLast2Cents

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Last I heard many business are not hiring and many Americans are struggling looking for work, but why don't I see them in the fields, landscape, painting, or where ever you normally see immigrants.
I spoke with a man yesterday that was repairing an Briggs & Straton engine. Seems he's an electrcian by trade........ was working labor force for a while, until he landed a job cleaning roofs. I guess he wouldn't have gotten that job if an illegal were available, maybe the reason you don't see any Americans in the feilds , landscaping, painting or whatever is because those jobs are taken by illegals.

LAZY the work is to tuff for them so the mexicans take those jobs because they are some hard working people!

Illegals are not any better workers than anyone else, that's an urban ledgend and extremely discriminatory.
 

chevy4wd

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MyLast2Cents;195928 said:
I guess he wouldn't have gotten that job if an illegal were available, maybe the reason you don't see any Americans in the feilds , landscaping, painting or whatever is because those jobs are taken by illegals.

I've been talking to my son's friends (teenagers) and they are always talking about wanting a job, but when I ask them why don't they just get a job at a burger or pizza joint, some of them reply that they are too embarrassed that some of their friends might see them and it would be embarassing... What a crock of horse ______!! A couple of them have even asked me for a job, but my reply was to apply for a job at one of those pizza or burger joints and get some "Work Ethics" and "Work Experience" then come back to me, cuz I don't want to train someone who is picky about their job, if you can show me that you don't care what type of job you have and you're still willing to be a hard worker....I'm willing to teach you my trade. Kids nowadays are too worried about their "Reputation" which kills me!

Ranier
 

MyLast2Cents

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Like I said I'm on the fence on this one and just wanted to see if I could open some eyes and look at it from a different prospective.

Ranier,

Let me propose a scenario and see if it knocks you off the fence.

Lets say you are relocating, you and your wife pack up travel to a new city and find a new house to live in. Now, while you are doing all this someone at your old home notices that you are moving out and moves in. You get back and there are squater in your house! To make matters worse you loose the buyer that you had for the house because the house is not vacant. The squaters refuse to vacate and you need to sell, its going to take legal action to get them out.
You go to the house to see if you can convince them to move out. They explain that they are poor and have nowhere else to go. Would you feel guilty for asking them to leave? I mean after all you have another house (and another house payment). Would you be insistant or would you just let them live in your house until they felt like moving out? Now the economic impact is personal.
 

Kev Berry

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The fines for the employers are not high enough to discourage hiring illegal workers. usually when people come here it is to better their lives. Unfortunately they dont give a crap about the laws of the land. If the illegal labor pool was reduced there may be an improvement in unemployment stats but would the average out of work American take the available job for the same pay?
 

Karen

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Why does our government always deal with the symptoms, but never the initial problems? If our country would deal with illegal immigrants getting into the US in the first place, we wouldn't be having this conversation. If you ask me, it's just more regulations and wasted tax money instead of getting something done.
 

Chiquillo

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IT IS HARD TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND / ILLEGAL? ONCE PEOPLE FROM THE STATES FIGHT FOR THEIR FREEDOM RIGHT?

FIRST IT WAS THE BLACK / THEN THEY PUT THE FINGER ON THE ASIAN PEOPLE / KNOW FOR GOOD YEARS / LATINOS, NOT ONLY FROM MEXICO. FORM ALL PARTS SOUTH CENTRAL AMERICA / ARGENTINA / COLOMBIA / MEXICO.

BUT WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE FORM OTHER COUNTRIES, AS RUSIA / PHILIPIN / EUROPE / NOT TO MANY AMERICAN PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT THAT ISN'T?

HERE IN MY STATE, IN SOUTH BAJA. MORE IN THE LAST PIECE OF LAND. THAT'S CABO SAN LUCAS. YOU WILL MEET A LOT OF GIRNGOS WORKING & LIVING THERE. A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM CANADA / EUROPA
SO THE QUESTION IS THIS. WHY WE DON'T COMNPLAIN HERE ABOUT ALL THIS PEOLPE HEREE WORKING?

NOT ALL THE ILLEGAL PEOPLE IS BAD / OR DON'T LIKE TO WORK. WE WORK IN THE STATES HARD. BUT TO MANY ISSUES WITH RACISM STILL

HOPE I DON'T GET NOBODY MAD WITH WHAT I SAY. I DID LIVED 15 YEARS IN THE STATES. & EVERY TIME I SAW SOMETHING WRONG DONE TO MY PEOPLE, IS NOT NICE.

EXAMPLE: ON THE 110 FWY / OLD GUY STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THE TRAFFIC. ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO GET OUT OK

REALLY QUICK I REACTED, I WAS BEHIND HIM, I DID MAKE SOME HAND SIGNAL, I WAITED SOME SECONDS, PUT MY EMERGENCY LIGHTS ON, GOOD LUCK 2 SEMI TRUCKS WERE NEXT TO US. THEY SAW WHAT I TRY TO DO. THEY SLOW THE TRAFFIC FOR US

I PULL HIS CAR TO THE SAFETY ZONE. IT WAS AN OLD BLACK GUY, HE WAS VERY SURPRISED THAT IT WAS A LATINO [ or MEXICAN ]
THAT HELP HIM. HE TOLD ME THAT HE DIDN'T LIKE US. WELL HE CHANGED HIS MIND THAT MOMENT

YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN / WHEN YOU ARE GONNA NEED THAT HELP, MORE FROM THE PEOPLE YOU SAY YOU HATE.

ME, I LIKE ALL THE RACE'S
 

Chiquillo

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SOO TRUE / IN MEXICO ARRIVED ONE OF THOSE HIGH LUXURY TRAS ATLANTIC SHIPS / OFFERING A NICE JOB, GOOD PAY
TRAVEL TH EWORLD.

THE DEMO VIDEO, MAN LIKE A MOVIE, REALLY NICE, BUT / THE TRUE IS FAR SHOWN. I ATTEND TO THIS JOB OFFER
HUMMMM ONCE CHEKING NUMBRES / WITH WEEKLY HOURS, 40 IS A JOKE / I HAVE A COPY OF THE PAPERS THEY GIVE YOU
THEY WERE CLOSE TO 90HOURS A WEEK, TO WORK. FOR A NICE $1.25 AN HOUR
AND THAT WAS MY PAY. THAT I WAS GONNA GO AS EXPERIENCE CARPET & UPHOLSTERY CLEANING. AND WORK ON THAT FIELD

THE REGULAR LABOR GUYS / MAN NOT EVEN ONE DOLLAR AN HOUR

THAT WAS FOR MEXICO HIRING / I DON'T THINK ANY OF YOU GUYS WANTED EITHER TO WORK LIKE THIS. BUT I ASK THE QUESTION TO THEM INFRONT OF EVERY BODY / DOES IN THE STATES YOU GUYS MAKE THE SAME OFFER?

OFCOURSE NOT!!! THIS IIS BEACUSE YOU GUYS ARE BEING HIRED IN MEXICAN STATE.
**** THAT I SAY / I'M NOT THAT STUPID TO WORK LIKE THIS.

MY POINT IS ALMOST THE SAME AS THE PRODUCE ONE / BECAUSE LATINOS WORK ON THE FIELDS PRODUCE IS NOT THAT EXPENSIVE. HAVE U.S CITIZENS THEN WORKING ON FIELDS / IS NOT GONNA HAPPEN

PLEASE STOP BOTHERING ILLEGALS / JUST WORK AND LET AVERYBODY WORK ASS WELL / THERE ARE WORST PROBLEMS THAN THIS
TOO MUCH MONEY SPEND ON WARS / THAT'S A BIG USSUE
EARTHQUAKE LIKE JAPON / THAT'S A BIG PROBLEM TO SOLVE
CHILE'S EARTHQUAKE

STOP CONCERNING IN MAKING THE BORDER WALL TALLER / STRONGER / WHAT HAPPEN TO THE ELECTRICITY / A PROBLEM LIKE THIS FOR JUST ONE DAY, AND ALL THE FANCY TOP OF THE LINE BORDER PATROL, FAIL CAUSE OF SOMETHING LIKE THIS