Higher Minimum Wage and Illegal Immigration

In response to my original article on the reasons for raising the Federal Minimum Wage, I received the following comment from someone on a Conservative blog that I had shared the article on.  While the statistics quoted I do not think are accurate, they do raise a point that maybe should be addressed.

NOTE:  If you did not read my previous article on the Federal Minimum Wage, you can do so by clicking this link:

Open Letter to All People Who Think Wanting More than $7.25/hour is Greedy

Now that you have that background, the comment I received that I thought should be addressed is as follows, because I am confident there are a number of people out there that have the same type of perspective where they connect minimum wage jobs with illegal immigrations.

Here is the comment:

“The problem as I see it that most of those people who who want to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr are the same as people who support the parasites/illegal aliens who illegally infest American by the millions and work for nothing. Without 20+ million illegal aliens to compete with for these jobs, the market place would set a much higher and fairer minimum wage.”

And, here is my response to the concern raised:

I guess I see illegal immigration and wages paid to American workers as two seperate things, and tying them together really doesn’t stop illegal immigration, but rather just perpetuates a domestic problem of people working plenty of hours and not being able to afford to live a decent life. To assume that wages would rise if illegal immigrants didn’t exist is putting a lot of faith in the marketplace (i.e. the private sector, that has no incentive to do the right thing, especially not at the expense of profit, and as long as the minimum wage is above what someone can collect on unemployment, an awful lot of people will just accept the low paying jobs because it’s better than nothing.

As for myself, I have been a small business owner for a number of years, and I have seen first hand the existence of a system already in place to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining American jobs, yet a total lack of enforcement by the powers that be. Whenever I have hired someone, one of the forms I am required to have them fill out is the I-9, which is provided by the US Customs and Immigration Service (part of DHS), and when they fill that out, I am also required to photocopy and maintain copies of their paperwork/ID’s that verify they are in fact legally eligible to work in the United States, whether it be because they are a US citizen or have a proper work visa or green card that makes them eligible. The thing is, NO ONE ever checks that I have complied with my obligations as an employer to conduct this basic verification.

When it comes to my worker’s compensation insurance policy, I have all my payroll records thoroughly audited every year to make sure that I have paid every last penny of insurance premiums required (since it is a percentage of wages based on job class), and they even require all sorts of requirements that if I claim to have subcontracted any work to a third party, I maintain proof they were covered by a work comp policy somewhere else, leaving no opportunity for collecting premiums missed.  The obvious reason for that is because work comp insurance providers are for profit, private sector companies that I am required by law to use, and they are certainly not going to take a chance of not collecting any extra premiums from me that they might be able to justify, even though, those back premiums “owed” (if discovered) are for insurance that was effective in the past and that I likely never used, so it is 100% profit for the insurance company. 

But, when it comes to the I-9 and my compliance, no one bothers to audit those forms to make sure I wasn’t paying wages to illegal workers. So, long story, a bit shorter, companies should be forced to pay higher wages, and also be audited to make sure they are not paying illegal workers those higher wages, or any wage for that matter. The benefits to the system and American workers would have an immediate impact, both on their quality of life, plus it would take millions of people off of government assitance of one type or another, saving tax dollars, and at the same time, double the amount of taxes those same workers are paying into the system to allow for funding other budget items that are valuable. 

Then, as far as illegal immigration, if the government spent half the effort on enforcing the laws already on the books as they pertain to employers, they would prevent companies from taking advantage of illegal workers for the extra profit they might offer, as well as prevent illegal workers from taking American jobs that they do not have a legal right to do.  In the long run, this will take away much of the incentive for them to come here illegally in the first place, and rather work through the process to do it legally and become contributing members of our society. 

It seems to me that makes a lot more sense than continually increasing the budgets to “round them up for deportation” while doing nothing to take away the incentive for them to come in the first place….and the whole time, letting companies benefit by illegally hiring them.

One last thought that I did not post on the other blog:

It’s amazing how aggressive the private insurance companies are when it comes to collecting every penny of premiums (found money that goes straight to their bottom line and shareholders), but our government (the politicians and their political appointees that make the rules and set enforcement priorities) show no real interest in enforcing laws that would LITERALLY HELP EVERYONE, even immigrants by keeping jobs available for the ones that do come to the United States legally, except it is not profitable for the companies that survive by hiring illegal labor (i.e. their biggest financial supporters).  Who would have thought that private sector companies, driven by profit (as thy should be) would look for ways to make a little extra profit by having the government look the other way, and instead spend resources on just “rounding them up”.  I bet if you surveyed American business executives, AND THEY ANSWERED TRUTHFULLY, you would find they are as bothered by “Trump’s Wall” as the most raging liberal is, and unfortunately, the people actually impacted (the middle and lower economic classes) have no idea that this is yet another part of the system completely rigged against them…Conservatives and Liberals, alike.

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