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04/11/06 Another Option on Immigration: Enforce Our Labor Laws

Another Option on Immigration: Enforce Our Labor Laws Policy Analyst Makes Case for "Third Way" on Immigration With the debate on immigration polarized between amnesty versus border enforcement options, Nathan Newman, policy director of the Progressive Legislative Action Network, laid out a third major option today at TomPaine.Com (Read the full oped below): enforcing our labor laws more effectively so that unscrupulous employers can't use the lack of labor rights by undocumented immigrants to drive down wage standards for all workers. The piece cites a recent New York Supreme Court decision that stated that lack of labor rights for undocumented immigrants "make it more financially attractive to hire undocumented aliens" and "increase employment levels of undocumented aliens. California has also acted to strengthen the labor rights of undocumneted workers by enacting SB 1818 in 2002 that requires enforcement of all labor laws "regardless of immigration status." Newman also provides a critical look at how various states are impacting immigration policy both for the best and the worst. For another perspective on the immigration debate, and for a better understanding of how states are impacting this critical issue, contact Matt Singer at msinger@progressivestates.org. Whatever the outcome of legislation in Washington, DC., this piece by the Progressive Legislative Action Network makes clear that state governments can act to stop employers from using immigration to drive down wage standards by toughening enforcement of our labor laws. The Progressive Legislative Action Network's mission is to drive public policy debates and change the political landscape in the United States by focusing on attainable and progressive state level actions. On the web.