Illegal Employers Scared

Tiny violins

Henry Vega, a citrus and avocado grower, expresses the unease that many California employers and workers feel in light of the Bush administration’s newly announced crackdown on illegal immigration.

"This seems like a real gray area, legally," said Vega, who also is a farm labor contractor in Oxnard in Ventura County. "If we ask too many questions of our workers, or just ask the Latinos, we get the ACLU on our backs, but if we don’t ask enough questions, we get the government on our backs."

The proposed crackdown that would force employers to verify the legal status of their workers poses just as much a concern for those who run other businesses such as restaurants that rely on undocumented immigrants.

I’m thinkin’, perhaps they should have verified them prior to hiring them? Regardless of how slack the government has been in enforcing it, there are laws about hiring people not eligible to work in the U.S.A.

"My gut feeling is that the government is going to have a hell of a time enforcing it," said Bruce Hill, chef and co-owner of Bix in San Francisco and Picco and Pizzeria Picco in Larkspur. "But if they can, and do, it will be devastating to the restaurant business."

Hill said there is no question that undocumented workers are the backbone of the industry.

"We hire hardworking people," he said. "And if he or she is a kick-butt employee, we look the other way."

And that in itself is a problem. And illegal as hell. Bix should be getting ready for a raid by ICE shortly, eh?

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