Employer Sanctions in Utah

Jennifer Sanchez and Pamela Manson write in the Salt Lake Tribune:

`Utah`s simmering immigration debate shifted from the state Capitol to ground level in Utah County on Thursday.`

`More than 50 undocumented workers were arrested here during a morning raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on a metal factory. `

`The U.S. Department of Justice then unsealed indictments, charging the company, Universal Industrial Sales, Inc., with 10 counts of harboring illegal aliens, and its human resource manager, Alejandro “Alex” Urrutia-Garcia, with two counts of encouraging or inducing undocumented workers to remain in the U.S. illegally.`

`In doing so, the U.S. Attorney`s Office of Utah and ICE appeared to signal a new strategy – one in which federal authorities are now targeting employers suspected of violating immigrations laws.`

More details on what is going on in Utah from Rocky Mountain Construction:

`U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has brought criminal charges against an Orem, Utah-based construction contractor for an alleged scheme to bring illegal aliens into the country and require them to work for his business to pay off their smuggling debts.`

`Jose Merman Moreno, a Peruvian national who owns MJH Construction, has been charged with one count of alien smuggling and one count of harboring illegal aliens. Moreno`s brother-in-law, Alejandro M. Meza, was also charged with harboring illegal aliens.`

`According to court documents, the two men allegedly housed the aliens in various residences they own in Utah County, where ICE agents arrested 22 Peruvian and Mexican nationals who were found to be in the country illegally.`

Now, in my opinion, all of the assets of these employers should be liquidated to set things right with their employees who need to sent home. I also think serious consideration should be taken to legislation that would enable the assets of their customers and the wealthy who have indirectly benefited from illegal immigration to be used in creating a solution that is just both to American workers and Mexicans (particularly those who have not violated US law but will have extraordinary problems to deal with during a major shift in US immigration policy).

Simple enforcement of existing laws will do little in a situation where the potential profits are huge. US citizenship is quite valuable–with a current market value of $100,000 and a theoretical value much greater than that. In that situation, the existing fine of $25,000 per violation for each employer will simply be a cost of doing business.