While many Americans were struggling to pay their bills, a Mexican national illegally living in Georgia was raking in millions by exploiting other illegal aliens and failing to withhold federal payroll and Social Security taxes.
Oh, and he was also buying more than 50 sports cars and customized trucks with his illegal profits.
Juan Antonio Perez, who owned a construction company that operated in Georgia and Tennessee, allegedly accumulated his wealth from hiring other illegal aliens as employees, according to a federal indictment filed in May.
Surprisingly, Perez showed little fear of federal law enforcement catching him. He allegedly provided “no benefits or insurance,” “did not pay payroll taxes or Social Security,” and paid below-market rates to his illegal employees, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He also purchased a 7,500-square-foot house using the proceeds of his company and bought several other homes for his workers to live in.
“Individuals, like Mr. Perez, who flagrantly violate federal law to give themselves an unfair business advantage are cheating both law-abiding employers and employees exploited by these unfair and illegal labor practices,” said Nick Annan, the special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta. “This case is an illustration of serious threats to public safety on numerous levels.”
Perez’s construction company could have caused long-term harm to surrounding businesses. If these accusations are true, he paid his employees lower wages than other construction companies were legally allowed to offer. He could have cost many legal residents their jobs by driving his competitors out of business.
In addition, Perez possibly contributed to wage stagnation even if his competitors managed to stay afloat. He allegedly hired 200 illegal aliens, which allowed him to provide cheaper and faster labor than other local businesses.
The average construction worker in Georgia earns $13 per hour. This is 11 percent lower than the national average. If other companies wanted to compete, they were probably forced to also pay lower (legal) wages. It’s unknown how many people Perez affected, but he at least contributed to the state’s low salaries if the charges are true.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for illegal aliens to profit at the expense of Americans. Perez’s alleged actions may be an extreme example, but this happens every day. And it won’t stop until the federal government finally decides to start cracking down on the illegal aliens already within our borders.