Leo W. Gerard: Immigration Reform Prevents Employer Abuse

Oscar came to the United States at the age of 16 to work. There were no jobs for him in his native Guatemala, and he felt obligated to help support his parents.

He was lured across borders by the promise of work. He believed, as so many immigrants do, that there would be a job for him in America.

For the past five years, he has worked at a Los Angeles car wash that cheated him and other immigrant workers out of pay, refused protective gear and even denied drinking water.

Employers such as car washes, corporate farms, construction companies and lawn care businesses entice immigrants into the United States by providing jobs with no questions asked. They lure undocumented workers in, and then abuse them with impunity. This endangers all workers because the low-wage, hazardous conditions undocumented workers endure can become the standard. This is especially true in bad economic times. More border security is fine. But to ensure safe, family-supporting jobs remain the norm, America must hold employers to account for baiting immigrants.

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