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February is the busy month on the US/Mexico border. The holidays are over, the weather is cool, days are longer, outside work will begin soon in much of the US. The number of people crossing or attempting to cross the border is at a peak.

La linea, la frontera, whatever you want to call it, the line, is a place of danger and opportunity. Prices for crossing have doubled and doubled again, they now begin at over $3,000 for a guided walk in the desert as above, and go up from there. A ride in a car through a checkpoint with a legal ID from someone else might well run twice that.

What prompted this post was a chart the front page this morning's roundup. Americans support requiring employers to verify that new hires are in the US legally by a 85/13 split. That's pretty heavy support even for a Gallup poll. We, (we Americans that is) also support a legal path to eventual citizenship for those who are here by similarly lopsided margins 72/25.

One thing for sure, the people streaming across are coming for work. With a required employment eligibility requirement illegal cross border traffic might slow considerably and many fewer people would be endangered by bandits and the desert. I'd hope that successful or not they all have a safe journey. It's not an easy crossing.

Originally posted to ban nock at DKos on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Getting ready to go to work here, (6+ / 0-)

    I'll drop in before I go if I can and for sure when I get back. I just thought it odd that no one much talks about the border or the trek seeing how this is the busiest month.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:09:58 AM PST

  •  some more pics of the border crossing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp, ban nock, PSzymeczek, DaNang65

    Border Enviromental Trash

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:17:50 AM PST

  •  Employers ARE required to check (3+ / 0-)

    As an employer in CA, I had a chat with la migre. they ARE required to ask for valid documentation, including Social Security.
    Its a potential $10,000 fine for hiring someone in the country without benefit of papers. That was in the early 90s, maybe its bigger now

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:22:21 AM PST

    •  BTW (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock

      I was caught on a sweep. I had (unknowingly) hired someone with false papers. I was lucky to get out of prosecution.
      Don't ever hire anyone without valid documentation

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:25:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I speak Spanish all day long at a construction (5+ / 0-)

      site. Sometimes I'm surprised and someone will be legal, almost all aren't. You are required to get 2 forms of ID and fill out I-9, that's it. Landscapers, restaurant help all the way up to head cooks, every job that doesn't require a drivers license.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:42:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are the employers (0+ / 0-)

        not following the law though? I have had to provide proof of legal eligibility to work in the US at the last two jobs I have gotten (passport, birth certificate, green card or whatever).

        •  Oh, (0+ / 0-)

          That is the I-9. So they are required to check now. I'm not sure what would change about that. Stricter verification maybe?

          Thanks for the diary.

          •  E-verify would do it. The way around the I-9 is to (2+ / 0-)

            just look at the two photo copied fake IDs, and say "yea, looked good to me".

            The bad part is that by putting a few million people currently in the US, out of work, we would be creating terrible hardship on the people who would be jobless and not eligible for any of the safety net programs, nor would their children. I'd think E-verify would have to be part of a larger reform. Personally I don't want people in America without enough to eat or a roof over their heads, no matter their legal status. I'd think most Americans are on the same page with this.

            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

            by ban nock on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:09:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

              We've had pears rotting on the trees in CA after a crackdown. It does nobody any good.

              •  I care about people, not pears (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DaNang65

                the farm industry, the IT industry, and others who depend on exploiting American Workers by importing labor are just going to have to pony up the money to pay Americans, and those on the way to becoming Americans.

                We buy pears, and we are poor. If the price of pears had to double to pay a living wage I'd celebrate. Picking pears is hard work, I'd support a middle class wage for doing so, heck I'd pick pears for a middle class wage.

                How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                by ban nock on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:21:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I should qualify this (0+ / 0-)

                  a temporary and partial change in policy hurts some employers but not others, to be fair a policy should be universal. Labor costs are eventually just tacked on to the product.

                  How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                  by ban nock on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:31:49 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  There Is A Gaping Hole In e-Verify (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ban nock, PSzymeczek

              If I make twenty copies of my Social Security card and give those copies to twenty illegal immigrants, e-Verify has no way of knowing those copies are not valid.

              e-Verify will only flag fake Social Security numbers, real ones work fine.

              I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

              by superscalar on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:37:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not familiar with it's actual workings (0+ / 0-)

                seems like with modern information technology where I can borrow the money to buy a car online in seconds we'd have a way to do this.

                How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                by ban nock on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:41:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  About 40% Of All Illegal Immigrants (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ban nock

                  Enter the U.S. legally and just choose not to leave. The U.S. VISIT program was legislated in 1996, and hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on it, yet the program still cannot tell me if a person with a U.S. visa has left the country.

                  These are not bugs in the system, they are features of the system.

                  I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

                  by superscalar on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:45:52 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Listen To Chris Crane And Julie Wood (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock

            Stricter verification maybe?

            Listen to Chris Crane at 52:30 on the video

            they are often involved in identity theft to some degree, and we do nothing about it, we stack 'em up like they're decks of cards
            The problem is not that law doesn't exist, the problem is that there is no will on the part of the government to enforce the law. If you get caught with fraudulent docs and you claim that you are a 'DREAMER', not only are you not prosecuted for identity theft, you are granted legal status and given a work permit.

            Jose Antonio Vargas Arrested, Government Declines To Take Action Against Undocumented Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

            Jose Antonio Vargas, who would have had to produce some type of documentation to get his job at the Washington Post was pulled over in Oct with a fraudulent driver's license -- he was released.

            This is the same point that I made about S2611 on this blog more then seven years ago now.

            With all respect, I do not need to know the exact language regarding changes in enforcement. The problem is not that the language does not exist to enforce the law, the problem is that current law is not enforced. What makes you think that changes to the language of the law will compel anyone to enforce law which already exists?
            Why are people who don't support the enforcement of immigration law today going to support the enforcement of immigration law tomorrow? We have become a society where it is generally accepted that some people have to follow the law, and some people don't.

            By the way, it is against the law for the employer to question the authenticity of documents presented for verification -- the Social Security card submitted can be an obvious fraud -- by law the employer cannot question it.

            I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

            by superscalar on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:33:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Regarding The (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ban nock

              Most fake IDs -- SS cards -- use fake numbers. The "benefit" to the migrant is that he gets to work. The benefit to the government is that the SS Trust Fund gets money withheld from wages on an account that does not exist from a worker who will never be able to use these funds for benefits in the future. In other words, free money to the government. If the account name and number does exist, the migrant's wages will go into an existing account, with the "victimized" account holder receiving the benefits of these withheld wages.

              As opposed to real identity theft -- where there is actually a victim -- such as stealing goods and services by charging them to someone else's credit card, the so called identity theft engaged in by migrants is victim-less, except to themselves.

              “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

              by chuco35 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:25:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Busque sus numeros SS!! (3+ / 0-)

        Its about having a valid SSN. If you hire someoe they have to have a SSN. They have to have something official like a card. (or discharge papers, etc) They also have to have some valid ID that matches them with the card (or whatever)

        Its real illegal to pay someone under the table for a variety of official reasons. One of them is liability. No insurer is going to insure undocumented workers. So if one of them hirts themselves or others, you (if youre the employer) are SO screwed!! That goes whether theyre legal or not.

        If any of those guys  gets hurt, someone can go to jail and probably ought to to teach him to hire and insure  people properly.

        Ban, if youre the employer here, you are REALLY vulnerable legally

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 06:50:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Too often I've seen the undocumented (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock

          get injured on the job and refuse medical attention precisely so as not to come to the attention of the system.

          Perhaps the worst was a maid cleaning up a construction job for turnkey who had a bookcase fall over and break her arm. The bone was obviously out of place but she was adamant that she was bueno.

          “Perhaps the most 'spiritual' thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

          by DaNang65 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:09:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was told that judges around here come down (0+ / 0-)

            very hard and very quickly on any employer who doesn't carry comp for workers.

            Construction clean up might well be a case of the undocs working for other undocs who are subs.

            Our hospitals and insurance carriers in our state ignore immigration status. They seek only to insure and care for workers who are injured.

            How big is your personal carbon footprint?

            by ban nock on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 07:56:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  ban---did they give false ID to get the job? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock

        Or is the contractor in collusion?
        I have to say, as a contractor I would have blown the whiistle on this. How I look at it is this:  If I have to play by rules, eveyone else has to play by the rules!!! why tie one of my hands behind my back and then ask me to compete with these people?
        I'v had my butt almost in a sling when I was trying to do the right thing---asked for ID and got it. How do I know whats false? I proceeded on good faith, was extemely lied to by that person. I did not LIKE that!
        And he set me up for what could have been real legal problems. It was a real eyeopener for me, I went to great lengths to employ people only legally after that.

        The setup you describe is a ticking time bomb----something goes wrong and someone gets REALLY MEGA Screwed!! For God sake don't let it be you!!!
        If illegals are hired knowingly then the liability insurance is canceled. If false ID is being used I'd bet money some of it is identity theft.
        if the employer is paying people under the table he's setting himself up for fraud in a variety of places.

        Best staying away from this---this is one of the reasons I got into Home Inspection---I never want to hire anyone again.

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:14:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've stayed small (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DaNang65

          but those people I see taking foreign vacations and buying nice houses all hire illegal workers. Comp and SS paid on all, but with a wink and a nod.

          You can get a tax ID number from the IRS for tax purposes. IRS is disconnected from all else.

          The whole system isn't good and needs fixing. There are problems on so many levels.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:37:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  One of the subcontractors in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaNang65, ban nock

      SE Arizona was busted for knowingly hiring undocumented workers.  He held the case up in court for over five years before it was resolved, and then he got only a slap on the wrist.

      You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

      by PSzymeczek on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:20:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Where's my Mexicans ?" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Over the Edge, ban nock, DaNang65

    That's a paraphrase of a complaint from a contractor I heard last week on NPR. Now that housing starts are up a little, builders are missing the immigrant labor that went home after the housing bust.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:19:28 AM PST

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