Illegal immigration is a very hot topic these days, and it is a very divisive one. As you can see here, however, it is not only immigrants who are attempting to take advantage of being in this country illegally. Here is an example of one employer whose business model apparently included deliberately hiring illegal immigrants, understanding that he could avoid paying them fair wages, and could avoid paying payroll taxes and workers compensation insurance. In addition to pleading guilty to a number of federal charges, this employer also apparently pleaded guilty in state court to not paying workers’ compensation premiums on his workers.
I have experienced this in my practice from time to time, but not on the scale of this particular slaughterhouse. In most cases, the employer apparently does not know (or it is at least not obvious that they did know) about the worker’s immigration status. When they do, however, the employer can take some advantage of it. In Oregon, the workers’ compensation insurer can take significant advantage of it. Illegal immigrants can have their access to wage replacement benefits severely restricted, and likewise, their ability to get retrained frequently goes away.
While I certainly do not condone illegal activities involving people coming into this country, it strikes me that if they do, and they get hurt, the benefit of that should not go to the employer, and certainly not if the employer knew that the person was in the country illegally when they were hired.