At my local rag, Tom Wallace reminds us that theft of labor is as American as apple pie (though he does not use that precise term).
After reminding us of America’s original sin of chattel slavery, theft of labor at its most brazen, he discusses the Reagan era escape clause for those who wish to
employ exploit undocumented immigrants. An excerpt (emphasis added):
Beginning in the 1970s, American business was again in dire need of low-cost labor, and it was well known south of the border that employers were eager to hire undocumented workers. Thus, Hispanics flooded into the country, constituting America’s second massive non-white immigration. Remarkably, for decades, irreplaceable undocumented Hispanics have been productive employees, raised families . . . .
But how could millions of undocumented immigrants avoid deportation? The answer: Congress created the necessary legislation. The Reagan administration’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 made it illegal to recruit or hire undocumented immigrants. However, it also provided a loophole for employers to hire while not violating the law by simply neglecting to ask or verify citizenship.
And, ironically, those who most willing to exploit undocumented immigrants seem to also be those most willing to demonize them when it suits their fancy . . . .