The Trump administration’s raids on private businesses that are suspected of employing foreign nationals who haven’t filled out all the right government paperwork or jumped through the right bureaucratic hoops, runs counter the tradition of holding a respect for property rights. As with any other government regulation, the mandates are based on central planning divorced from the market process. Government officials have no idea which potential workers make the best workers, where they should be working, or in what industries. Only private employers, through price signals sent by customers, can calculate the best way to use labor resources.
The UK Independent reported this week that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) “has put a renewed premium on workplace raids, and recently announced that it had already doubled the number of raids between October and May over the year before.”
Basically, we have government agents in the business of spying on business owners and then raiding their private property in order to remove the employees with whom the owners have freely contracted.
A better solution might be what Ron Paul has suggested — he’d like to see the green card system streamlined to make it easier to work legally in the US. Specifically, he has called for green cards that permit legal employment — and can be easily obtained by “illegal aliens” — but don’t grant political rights like access to welfare or the road to citizenship.
For the business owner, the raids result in the sudden removal of trained employees. Businesses that use immigrant labor for two main reasons: they tend to work very hard, and they actually show up.
The employers must then find new employees and train them. This will occur after a period in which large numbers of openings will be totally unfilled, thus impacting the ability of the employer to service his or her customers. The employees detained and arrested at these workplace raids were also invited to work there by the business owners, and were freely offered payment for their services.
What is being violated is a “right to contract”, which is foundational to the respect of property rights.
However, complications that arise surrounding identifying documents, taxation, and federal paperwork are really created by the government. If taxes are a problem, making it easier to pay the taxes by leveraging the Ron-Paul Green Card, which increases the strata of gainfully employed workers, might be a solution.
The way things are done in reality has resulted in placing an additional administrative burden on employers who must jump through the bureaucracy’s hoops of verifying employee identities and pushing around all the right papers to be in “compliance.”
Folk that are not business owner don’t understand the pressures of making payroll every two weeks, and that sometimes it’s necessary to conclude there’s simply not time to check up on every single government document handled as part of every hiring process.
At the core of these federal raids on employers are actually efforts by federal immigration officials to plan what workers get to work where and when.
Workplace raids are little more than enforcement actions against market actors whose primary “crime” is not conforming to bureaucratic edicts. In the end, the economy, the country, workers and consumers are all stuck with the bill.