Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Responsibility for the Illegal Aliens

This seems counterintuitive at first: Judge Rolando Acosta ruled that undocumented aliens could pursue their lost wages claims against their former employers, and that the defendant former employers could not inquire as to the plaintiffs' residency status. Gomez v. F & T Int'l (Flushing, NY) LLC, 2007 NY Slip Op 27269, 2007 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4646, N.Y.L.J., 16 July 2007, p. 22 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2007).

Actually, Judge Acosta was right on the money. The two injured illegals who worked for the building demolition contractor were paid off the books, and were never asked for and never did submit any papers purporting to document their status. As Judge Acosta put it, "[n]ow that plaintiffs are injured and seeking lost wages, the owner and general contractor are suddenly concerned with plaintiffs' alien status and income tax returns."

The employers who were hiring the illegals took little to no safety precautions for employers who used tools such as wirecutters (the big kind for structural concrete reinforcement wires) and jackhammers. They paid them off the books, asked no questions, and knew damn well that the illegals were illegals. Now, Judge Acosta is effectively making them take responsibility for the very severe injuries the workers incurred.

This is one of those "clean up the garbage and the rats will go away" situations. As long as there is incentive for employers to hire illegals, the illegals will come here. And the problem is particularly recalcitrant in the building industry, especially the demolition segment of the building industry.

The windfall to the illegals is a relatively small price to pay for bringing responsibility to the building industry. And, if the injuries sustained by these illegals are half as serious as purported, then most of that money will be plowed back into the health care system (which is a morass unto itself).

And, if the IRS is on its toes, there will be consequences to the employers for the off-the-books wages.

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