Employment Law Remedies for Illegal Immigrants
Gonzalez, Jarod S.
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Professor Gonzalez suggests that providing undocumented workers with the same labor and employment rights that legal workers possess may be one factor in successfully solving the illegal immigration problem facing the United States. However, any change in undocumented worker employment rights should not be done at the expense of the United States’ policy objective of decreasing the number of undocumented workers in the country. The article begins with a history of illegal immigration reform and enforcement. Then, Professor Gonzalez discusses judicial interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Through this discussion, Gonzalez shows the current uncertain status regarding the rights and remedies available to undocumented workers. Gonzalez briefly discusses Texas judicial interpretation in this area. Gonzalez then addresses the public policy question. Hiring undocumented workers leads to lower wages and lower standards of living for legal workers. Gonzalez argues that giving undocumented workers complete employment rights would serve the interests of the American worker because this would take away incentive for employers to hire undocumented workers. Gonzalez does not agree with those who believe the United States immigration problem should be resolved by international groups. Gonzalez suggests holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers through sanctions and criminal penalties. He also recommends Congress should better help employers by developing a more efficient employment verification system.