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Additional Statement by Vice Chairman Stephen Horn
CIVIL RIGHTS IN IMMIGRATION
Nothing is more pitiful than a nation which stands helpless and immobilized when it should meet the needs of its own citizens and lawful residents. Yet that is exactly what is happening with respect to the lack of an effective national policy concerning the illegal aliens who are coming to this country to seek employment and a better life for themselves. Calling them by the euphemistic phrase "undocumented workers" does not make their entry any less illegal nor reduce their impact on employment opportunities for our own citizens. As Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall noted on December 2, 1979:
the eastern seaboard, one can readily find thousands of non-Hispanic illegal aliens widely employed in both the large industries and the small businesses of those areas. As the Vice President's Task Force on Youth Employment concluded: "Estimates on the percentage of undocumented workers in the U.S. labor force range from 2 percent to as high as 10
If only half, or 2 million, of them are in jobs that would otherwise be held by U.S. workers, eliminating this displacement would bring unemployment down to 3.7%, which is below the 4% full-employment target set by the Humphrey-Hawkins Act.'
There is no doubt that the illegal aliens who are employed in the garment firms of Los Angeles, in the restaurants of the District of Columbia, or in the automobile factories of Detroit are hard working. Often they seek not only a better life for themselves, but also for those they have left behind in their native lands—families and relatives to whom they frequently send funds. But as a matter of American national policy, citizens and lawful residents should not be left unemployed because the governments from which these illegal aliens flee are not meeting the economic needs or facing the population problems of their own people.
This Nation should be particularly concerned with the distressing working conditions in the low
It should be clear that the illegal alien problem is not simply an Hispanic problem and is not limited to the five Southwest States, it is a national problem.? If one examines the employment situation in the North-Central States, in New England, and along
· Harry Bernstein, “Illegal Aliens Cost U.S. Jobs—Marshall," an interview with Secretary of Labor F. Ray Marshall, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 2, 1979,
* Very simply, the estimate of illegal aliens is uncertain except that it is at
as many as 10 million illegal aliens in this country. ("Our Undocumented
skill, low-wage industries in which illegal aliens are employed and with the resultant denial of job experiences for our own citizens. It is a serious problem when entry level job experiences are denied to inner-city youth because these jobs are increasingly occupied by illegal aliens subject to the exploitation and fear created by unscrupulous employers and sometimes connived in by labor unions. Some have argued that Americans will not fill low-status, lowwage jobs and therefore illegal aliens are necessary if the work is to be done. That is simply untrue. Such "we need them and they are happy here" arguments were last heard to justify plantation slavery before the Civil War. The fact is that in each occupational category a majority of the positions are filled by American citizens. If workers are truly needed to perform specific seasonal tasks, then guest worker programs such as those utilized in various European countries might be instituted. Under such programs there could at least be a regularized procedure to assure the entry of needed workers to perform specific types of jobs (but not limited to a specific employer). Such a procedure would also ensure full payment and fringes, health clearance, and other accepted American practices too often neglected as some employers victimize the illegal alien as well as the broader public interest. It is clear that the problem of illegal immigration is a political as well as a human and a legal issue. That neither the Congress nor the President has faced these issues is tragic.
The Border Patrol has a difficult and dangerous task. It is understaffed and its members are underpaid. As one careful student of the subject has observed "...the legal immigration system of the United States has been rendered a mockery. ..."
There is big money and individual misery in the smuggling of illegal aliens across the American borders. Because our borders are largely unpatrolled and most illegal entrants can melt into our society, we are an attractive target, especially for those who come from Mexico where the government has failed to address the needs of its own people through either
a sound economic or population policy. It is hoped that some of the billions of dollars now available within Mexico as a result of the development of its petroleum resources will go toward the development of labor-intensive food processing and textile industries in the northern states of that nation. Certainly the American Government has a stake in also providing appropriate assistance to encourage such a development. Increasingly unemployed American workers should not be the only form of foreign aid available to Mexico.
For those who seek to count illegal aliens to increase their political power, perhaps it would be wise to recall Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. at 82, in which the Court noted that "Congress has no constitutional duty to provide all aliens with the welfare benefits provided to citizens. ..."
Residents from my own State of California certainly stand to profit from counting illegal aliens and thus gaining a few more seats in the House of Representatives. But should foreign citizens—many of whom are transient and subject to deportationbe the basis of our representative process? Is it fair to the legitimate political interests of citizens in the North and the East (where there are probably proportionally less illegal aliens than in the Southwest) not to have their votes counted effectively in the formulation of national policy through that representative process simply because some States happened to have an enhanced apportionment as a result of the substantial presence of illegal aliens?
On August 4, 1977, the Carter administration proposed a package of legislative proposals to reform our immigration laws. One of the key recommendations was the call for employer sanctions to make illegal the hiring of so-called undocumented workers. Various ethnic communities quite properly expressed concern that employers might be reluctant to hire those with a shade of skin other than white for fear that they were undocumented workers and illegal aliens. In brief, the administration left out the essential element which is key to a fair employer sanctions policy and that is what some
• The findings of the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey (NLS) of Youth Labor Market Experience refute this myth: "Substantial numbers of youth are willing to work at less than the minimum wage. This extensive longitudinal study found that the youth unemployment rate (38.8% for black youth and 16.6% for white youth) was 37% higher than had been shown by the Current Population Survey monthly sample.” The New York Times, Feb. 29, 1980, pp. Al and A14. • Professor Briggs has commented that, “No U.S. worker can compete with an illegal alien when the competition depends upon who will work for the lowest pay and longest hours and accept the most arbitrary working
conditions. Hence, it is self-serving for employers to hire illegal aliens and claim simultaneously that no citizen workers can be found to do the same work. In the local labor markets where illegal aliens are present, all lowincome workers are hurt. Anyone seriously concerned with the working poor of the nation must include an end to illegal immigration as part of any national program of improved economic opportunities." (emphasis supplied) Vernon M. Briggs, Jr. “The Impact of the Undocumented Worker on the Labor Market," in The Problem of the Undocumented Worker, p. 34.
Ibid., p. 32.
have described as a "secure" or "counterfeit-proof" social security card. I agree with that criticism. If we are to deal with reality, and not find ourselves still discussing this matter a decade from now while millions of American citizens continue to be denied job opportunities, then the establishment of such a secure and counterfeit-proof social security card for any who wish to be employed must be a first order of business on the national legislative agenda.
With this exception, I have supported the recommendations for due process which we have made in the attached report—although at times I have felt that some of our proposals, if enacted, should be best described as “the Immigration Attorneys Relief Act of 1980.” /s/
• Gerda Bikales, program associate for Population/Immigration, National Parks & Conservation Association, has made an effective case for such a card in “The Case for a Secure Social Security Card” (September 1978), 18 pp., available from National Parks & Conservation Association, 1701 18th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20009. She notes that, “The Social Security card and the driver's license enjoy primary credibility as general purpose identification. ..." (p. 9) “Forty-four States now affix a photograph of the driver on the license adding to the security of the document. .”(p. 10) Observing that 41 State jurisdictions now issue "impressive and official looking identification cards to non-drivers," Bikales adds that, “The dreaded I.D. has been brought in through the back door, by popular request!” (p. 11) She observes that “it is almost inconceivable how anyone could be damaged by revealing (bona fide legal residency in the United States); on the contrary, it is universally acknowledged to be a highly advantageous quality, one that many millions all over the world are desperately trying to take on as their own.” (p. 14) She favors "an upgraded Social Security card" as "the least drastic alternative" (p. 14) and recalls that in July 1973, the Report (Records, Computers and the Rights
Stephen Horn of Citizens) of the (HEW] Secretary's Advisory Committee on Automatic Personal Data Systems "provide further assurance that Social Security numbers were legislatively intended by the Congress 'to be available for use in preventing aliens from working illegally and public assistance beneficiaries from receiving duplicate or excessive payments”.” Ibid., p. 121. Another strong advocate of “an identification system which would apply to all workers” is Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall. He believes that "a noncounterfeitable Social Security card could be issued to all workers changing jobs and to all newly hired persons, and that could be done for under $200 million. ." Harry Bernstein, “Illegal Aliens Cost U.S. Jobs—Marshall," an interview with Secretary of Labor F. Ray Marshall, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 2, 1979, p. l-1. Considering that the United States Budget in Brief—Fiscal Year 1981 indicates (p. 32) that “unemployment recipients are estimated to average 2.9 million per week in 1980 and 3.4 million per week in 1981" with outlays for unemployment compensation estimated to increase $3.2 billion “from $15.6 billion in 1980 to $18.8 billion in 1981,” a $200 million investment to open up perhaps millions of jobs for citizens and permanent residents is a very cheap investment indeed.
Separate Statement of Commissioner Frankie M. Freeman in Opposition To Majority Vote Against Employer Sanctions
The recommendations against employer sanctions contained in chapter 5 and approved by a majority of the Commission are unfortunate in that they are fashioned on false premises and totally ignore certain fundamental facts.
The first is a simple one. The United States of America is a sovereign nation and has the right and the responsibility to determine who may enter the country and the conditions under which they may enter. Numerous studies have shown that the primary reason people enter the country illegally is economic-the lack of jobs and opportunities in their native lands "push” them out and the availability of both jobs and opportunities in the United States "pull” them into this country. These “push-pull” factors leave the government with the choices of: (1) ignoring the situation, (2) increasing the number of Border Patrol agents in order to fully interdict unlawful immigration, or (3) reducing the "pushpull” factors. The first is irresponsible and untenable. The second is costly and virtually impossible; it would take an army to attempt to seal the southern border alone and it is far from clear that it could be accomplished. Experts in the field tend to believe that the only viable approach is to reduce the pull factor by making it more difficult for persons entering illegally to secure employment. This would be accomplished by imposing sanctions on employers who knowingly employ undocumented aliens. This is not an outrageous or unusual approach. The vast majority of Western nations impose controls on foreign workers. This is the standard practice
throughout Western Europe and, incidentally, in Mexico.
A majority of the Commissioners in Recommendation 5.4 would oppose statutory sanctions against employers who hire undocumented aliens on the grounds that such a law would lead to employment discrimination against Americans or resident aliens who might be mistaken for undocumented aliens. In following this approach the majority would ignore the fact that employers who knowingly hire undocumented aliens do so not out of compassion for the oppressed, but out of simple greed. The majority would ignore the fact that their exploitation is made possible because the fear of detection and deportation prohibits undocumented aliens from protesting unsafe working conditions or wages below the minimum required by Federal law. Perhaps the most distressing aspect of the majority's opinion is it ignores the reality that undocumented aliens tend to be concentrated in the lowest paying jobs and displace American racial and ethnic minorities who traditionally have been employed in those fields, Hispanic and black Americans.
In 1977 the Carter administration reviewed the issue of how to structure an employer sanction program so as to guard against discrimination. This issue is again being studied by the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. In my view, identification mechanisms can be developed which will minimize or effectively prevent discrimination against persons legally here. In my view, it is premature for the Commission to oppose employer sanctions on this ground without a thorough analysis of the forthcoming recommendations of the Select Commission.
While the plight of the oppressed throughout the world is central to the principles of any supporter of civil and human rights, it does not follow at all that the plight of the poor and oppressed of our own
country should be ignored by the one agency that has traditionally championed their cause. From this I dissent. /s/
Frankie M. Freeman