There was an article recently about the federal government cracking down on Chipotle restaurants for hiring illegal immigrants. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/02/chipotle-chain-targeted-federal-immigration-audits.html. The article was not biased, just stating the facts. What really upsets me is reading the vain, self-righteous comments of people screaming “ILLEGALS OUT”. These are people who have never met and talked with an illegal themselves and maybe never owned a restaurant for that matter. I hear from them three main arguments all the time: illegal immigrants work for less, they steal our jobs, and they do not pay taxes.
First, let’s address the argument about working for less. Chipotle as a business is required by law to pay at least minimum wage to all its employees. If they were hiring anyone for less than minimum wage, they would be prosecuted for that offense. Clearly, Chipotle is complying with this law and there must be another reason they are hiring illegal immigrants.
Second, some argue that illegal immigrants do not pay taxes. This is not true also. A lot of illegal immigrants DO have legal Social Security Numbers. They may be illegal for number of reasons: bad lawyers; overstaying under anther visa, not filing paperwork on time, former employer closing the business and thus getting out of work visa status, etc. Even if an illegal immigrant does not have Social Security Number, and is a "border-crosser" as some people call them, they often have a legitimate tax ID or a fake Social Security number so that they can pay taxes-one of the requirements of many businesses.
Finally, let’s discuss the argument of the starving and unemployed Americans who are looking for a job. Yes, there are many unemployed Americans. Very few of them though are willing to work for minimum wages. Let’s make a calculation. If you work for a fast food restaurant 40 hours every week for $7.50 you will get $290 per week before taxes. This is less than the standard $300 per week people get from unemployment benefit nowadays, WITHOUT working.
Furthermore, very, very few of those willing to work for minimum wage are better qualified than the illegal workers. When people say illegal workers are hard working, they are not lying. These are people, who are determined to survive no matter what, who have risked their lives in order to come here and who know how to live frugally and save a lot. They come to work every day, do not complain, do not steal, work hard and care about their families.
What about Americans willing to work for minimum wage? The first group is college students or high-school students looking for part time jobs on evenings and nights. The restaurants though need full-time day laborers. What kind of American will be working for minimum wage, full time? What kind of people are those- born in this country, who went to school here and at the end can only work at a fast food restaurant? More often than not these are people who were so unmotivated that could not even finish their high school and do not qualify for anything better. They are often unreliable, disloyal and with a shady character. If I had a business of my own and had to choose, I would choose the illegal over the legal in a heart beat. And that’s the truth behind the illegal immigrant being hired.
The plaza where illegal immigrants stand day after day looking for a job is a well known public place in
. They charge about $10-15 dollars an hour. I have used them couple of times to move my furniture. Why is there not a single unemployed American standing next to them, I do not know. Maybe someone can tell me. Atlanta
Finally, a thought on the whole “government involvement” with illegal immigrants. What I don't understand is how the same people who oppose the meddling of government in other aspects of their lives (health care for example) are so willing to let the government tell them who will clean their kitchen or pick up their apples. Less government is better in ALL aspects of our lives. I understand if the government has to set requirements for legal employment for government jobs, but why would I have to give an account to the government of who I am hiring in my own business. Do Americans feel discriminated against and need some affirmation?