Which of these outrages is less believable, that immigrants with no work permit or green card are guaranteed the minimum wage, or that our elected representatives are pushing for a pay increase because they failed to deliver amnesty?
There is precious little in American politics that should surprise anyone except the terminally naïve, but imagine conservatives in Congress trying to pass a bill that denied mandatory wage protections to immigrants who have no work permit or green card. The outcry would be deafening. The White House has convinced too many Americans that illegal workers should have the rights of citizens.
No work permit? The Labor Department doesn’t care.
Hilda Solis is gone but bad habits are hard to give up (see: Labor Department Assures Migrant Workers of Rights). Democrats still worry about the undocumented suffering from wage violations and the Labor Department has made it clear for years that it does not care about immigration status when it comes to paying illegal workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act:
The Department’s Wage and Hour Division will continue to enforce the FLSA and MSPA without regard to whether an employee is documented or undocumented.¹
Does it matter whether illegal immigrants with no work permit are paid minimum wage? It does if we don’t want them to stay here. Face it. Democrats are lying. Not all of the undocumented are entrepreneurs or rocket scientists.
Swap a higher minimum wage for a work permit?
A higher wage guarantee is the best deal immigrants without a work permit can expect this year, though with the huge drop in deportations their prospects already look pretty rosy (see: Rule of Law Means Deportations, Not Excuses). They won’t get much from Congress unless Republicans take a beating at the polls, but their pay is going to go up in many states that can raise the minimum wage but are blocked by Washington from enforcing any measures that infringe on undocumented immigrant rights. Instead of arguing that illegal workers deserve more than $7.25 an hour, we should demand to know why they are protected by wage and hour laws that give them another reason to work without authorization.
Finally. A bill to stop Obama and enforce the law.
We only have two months of 2014 behind us and the government has already approved 47,655 deferred action applications.² If you think amnesty isn’t already on the books thanks to this Obama executive order you aren’t paying attention.
Can we pass a law to stop the president, whose behind the scenes orders have turned to public threats to continue circumventing the Constitution? Senator Rand Paul and Representative Ted Poe have introduced the Constitutional Check and Balance Act. In the House H.R. 4138, the ENFORCE the Law Act, recently cleared the Judiciary Committee:
To prevent executive overreach, the ENFORCE the Law Act puts a procedure in place to permit the House, or the Senate, to authorize a lawsuit against the Executive Branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws.³
A great idea. We should expand the concept to include agencies that aid and abet the president like Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, and Eric Holder’s Justice Department, which has a special affinity for attacking states that don’t want to pay for illegal immigrants.
Just think of the possibilities if public officials had to carry out the duties they are sworn to perform. We might consider making working in the U.S. illegally a reason to deny an application for legal status, a visa, or citizenship. Or we could make a work permit or green card a prerequisite for earning the minimum wage instead of pretending illegal workers are almost citizens. After all, if we are going to force companies to pay higher wages shouldn’t the money go into the pockets of Americans?