FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sen. Dick Green
(603) 271 – 7802
March 06, 2006
Reasonable Approach to Illegal Immigration
By Senator Richard Green
For any state legislator, there is nothing more frustrating than facing a serious problem that cannot be resolved by enacting state legislation. The presence of more than 11 million illegal aliens nationwide, including a sizeable slice in New Hampshire, is just such a problem. Illegal aliens are taking jobs from law-abiding New Hampshire citizens (including legal aliens). Worse, the “costs” of their employment are being transferred to our publicly supported local facilities, including schools and hospitals, further raising our already exploding health insurance rates and municipal budgets. And while state and local law enforcement is virtually forced by federal law immigration law to overlook their illegal status, federal enforcement of such law is hopelessly inadequate. Meanwhile, business interests who benefit financially pretend there is nothing they can do about it.
As matters stand today, state laws prohibiting the employment of illegal aliens are preempted by federal law. They have no effect. So it does no good to pass more laws that are themselves, “against the law.” To be sure, the ethnic sensitivities of people impacted by any state solution must be respected, but as documented in an exhaustive study conducted with Ford and Rockefeller Foundation financial support by concerned experts at UCLA and other universities (available on the web at: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/), it is clear that state and community citizens and taxpayers are not the only victims of illegal alien employment. Illegal aliens themselves are ruthlessly exploited by violations of state employee safety and wage protection laws, enabling their “overseers” to offer their services to “legitimate” business at bargain basement rates. Believe me, this presents no “bargain” for the rest of us. We cannot wait for Congress to act. In short, we must act ourselves but within the existing legal framework.
What can we do? We can empower law enforcement to work with federal immigration officials to become certified to help enforce. We can have everyone whose premises provide a worksite for alien labor register with the NH Dept. of Labor and retain records documenting compliance with state labor laws. We can increase responsibility and penalties for violating state labor protection laws. We can eliminate the calculated indifference that is fueling this miserable and costly “race to the bottom.”
Senate Bill 407, sponsored by twelve Senate Republicans (and supported by many more) tackles the problem head-on, without triggering federal preemption. It removes exploitation incentives through better state law enforcement. It puts responsibility where it belongs; onthose who benefit most from employing illegals. And it authorizes state programs for better enforcement going forward. As its final proposed finding states:
Enforcement of state labor protection and safety laws at worksites where aliens are employed will discourage such illegal cost-saving efforts, enable the department of labor to enforce laws designed to prevent the exploitation of workers, discourage employer conduct leading to citizen and legal alien job loss in this state, and mitigate other adverse impacts related to inadequate enforcement of federal immigration laws.
This is a proposal whose time has come.
Senator Dick Green is the Deputy Majority Leader in the New Hampshire Senate and is a lifelong resident of Rochesterand he represents Senate District 6 which comprises: Barrington, Madbury, Nottingham, Rochester and Somersworth.