Thursday, March 3, 2011

Proposed Texas Immigration Law Has Convenient Loophole For Slave Labor

A proposed immigration bill in the Texas State House of Representatives would make hiring an "unauthorized alien" a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, unless the is worker is hired for laborious, menial work that rich people just don't want to do themselves.

From Yahoo News: House Bill 2012 introduced by a tea party favorite state Rep. Debbie Riddle -- who's been saying for some time that she'd like to see Texas institute an Arizona-style immigration law -- hiring an undocumented maid, caretaker, lawnworker or any type of houseworker would be allowed. Why? As Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, also a Republican, told CNN, without the exemption, "a large segment of the Texas population" would wind up in prison if the bill became law.

How do I even begin to respond to this? Riddle (aptly named!) wants to continue to employ undocumented immigrants (only in the domestic work sector), while simultaneously criminalizing their residency. This would allow undocumented workers to continue cleaning her house while she avoids paying payroll taxes and benefits to said workers and continues ignoring labor laws. Pretty crazy for someone whose catch phrase is, "What part of illegal don't you understand?" And of course she will never receive any penalties for hiring them in the first place!

If an employer could report an undocumented worker to immigration at any time without facing any repercussions for hiring that worker, imagine the power of that employer. If an employer doesn't have to follow labor laws, uphold minimum wage or safety requirements, or even give fair compensation, imagine the power of that employer. If an employer could threaten her worker by using the worker's immigration status as blackmail - imagine the power of that employer.

The supporters of this bill have sent a clear message about the value of Hispanics in Texas - maid service, lawn trimmings, and exploitation.

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