Raise Illegal Alien Minimum Wage?

Elliot Schroeder Elliot Schroeder Leave a Comment


What if employers had to pay illegal aliens, but not U.S. Citizens & residents, more than minimum wage?  It would be a tariff on illegal labor. I ask this question after a KQED story on wage theft.  The story centers on activists suing companies for back pay for non-English speaking immigrants. It is interesting that immigration activists have done more than the small wage theft force to challenge companies that under pay.

I know it may sound backward at first, that illegal immigrants should have a law paying them more than U.S. Citizens, but increasing the price of illegal immigrant labor may prove better than a bigger wall on the border.  It’s not much different than the unions asking for exemptions after pushing a minimum wage hike in Los Angeles. They merely wanted to price non-union labor out of the market.  Can’t we do that for illegal immigrants?  Why not price illegal immigrant labor out of the market?

Here are a few pros and cons:


* Anti-illegal immigration activists can target employers.  A long time issue for minuteman groups and the likes and impetus for E-verify, using the wage theft approach could be more effective against companies.

* Cost of illegal immigrant labor disincentive.  The natural market cost and worry over lawsuits may convince employers not to hire them.

* Illegal aliens may stop stealing identities.  Granted its need to hire, but an informed illegal alien may realize that they are entitled more and push for it.  In this case make the entitlement system work for the taxpayers for a change.

*Increase in illegal alien unemployment may increase self-deportation. If the above works there may be more illegal unemployment. As we saw in 2008, this led to a self-deportation of illegal aliens; it could happen again.


* Will more come to the border? Like the children thinking they would be dreamers it may recruit more immigrants to come here.

* What if they don’t self-deport? The resultant illegal immigrants no longer employed may look to criminal activities for income.

* Will unemployed illegal aliens seek support? Illegal immigrants may put pressure on services or legal family members.

I’m sure this will be controversial. It should be, it’s just an idea.  But it could me a market approach solution that conservatives can get behind and not sound so “mean.” It wouldn’t require a bigger wall, raiding homes, or an additional burden on our communities. I welcome your comments!


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