Advocate for Immigrant Pay

Advocate for Immigrant Pay

Sep 21

I want to take a moment and explain to people why it’s important that we take care of our immigrant workers, even if some of them are here illegally.

I know that last point is going to be very contentious. Lots of people feel we shouldn’t be helping anyone who is here illegally. They’ve broken the law, these people will say, and if they are going to stay here at all, they will have to suffer the consequences of not being able to use the same legal recourses we citizens have.

But here’s the thing: as long as we have undocumented workers in our country, we need to make sure the laws apply to them as well. As a country of laws, we have a duty to apply them without prejudice. That’s how laws are supposed to work, and that means we need to especially focus our attention on making sure all laws are followed when it comes to the most vulnerable people in our society: both legal and illegal immigrants.

This is important because if we don’t make sure the laws are enforced (not just deportation laws and immigration laws but all laws) with immigrants, we may find the laws that help us begin to fray away as well.

Consider this: an undocumented worker works 60 hours for a company, but his employer will only pay him for 40. What should the worker do? What we want is to give him a place to go so he can get paid what he is owed, according to the law, which means, his 20 hours of overtime. I found this unpaid overtime claims attorney website to be very helpful in my research on the subject.

If we don’t protect this worker, the employer may begin to think he can pull the same trick with others. Perhaps he’ll practice it next on the legal immigrant who doesn’t speak perfect English. If he succeeds there, he may go after the native-born worker who seems a little slow and is unlikely to know who to go to for help. And so on up the ladder until we all have to worry about our paychecks.

Now, I’m not advocating for anything involving deportation or amnesty. Those ideas can be debated in Congress, and we can all vote for the people we feel will best follow through on our own ideas about that issue. All I am saying is we have to make sure there’s a firm line out there when it comes to the law: the law is the law.

We all know ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you speed down the road at 50 in a 30 mph area, you get a ticket whether you saw the sign or not. The law should work the other way too. You should get paid what you are owed whether you know how to advocate for yourself or not.

That should be true for you and for me, and for every immigrant in this country as well.