House to Vote on a Union-Backed Bill that Rewards Illegal Immigration



Tomorrow the House will vote on a union-backed bill containing an ill-advised provision that enhances the primary motivator of illegal immigration – working in the United States. H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act upends federal labor law to reward illegal aliens while making it next to impossible for businesses to fire illegal aliens with union status.

Like present day unions claim to do, FAIR has long defended the rights, welfare, and dignity of working-class Americans, while acknowledging that working in the United States is the primary motivator of illegal immigration. The presence of cheap foreign labor depresses wages and reduces opportunities for American workers. Union leaders, from Samuel Gompers to A. Philip Randolph to Cesar Chavez, have all understood this. Now, big labor supports mass immigration and legislation like the PRO Act which would entrench currently-working illegal aliens in their jobs, removing any incentive for employers to obey the law and dismiss unauthorized workers. Why? To enrich union bosses and bolster their ranks.

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) currently allows illegal aliens to allege employer violation of their collective bargaining rights before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). However, unlike legal workers and American citizens, illegal aliens cannot receive back pay from the NLRB as a remedy – something that was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Hoffman Plastics Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB. The PRO Act would allow them to receive back pay during the time they took jobs illegally, further entrenching illegal labor and displacing more American workers. Worse, illegal aliens would be allowed to sue their employers in court if the NLRB does not act fast enough.

In addition to owing back pay and other damages from so-called unfair labor practices, the PRO Act subjects employers to civil penalties of up to $100,000. This means that if an employer makes the admirable decision of firing an illegal worker to hire an American instead, they could face an unfair labor practice charge alleging that the illegal alien was fired for union status rather than being here illegally. This is not right.

What should Congress do instead? It’s simple – the biggest magnet for illegal immigration is employment. The only real solution to this problem is mandating E-Verify, which would ensure that even unscrupulous employers cannot hire illegal aliens instead of American workers. Only when the price of hiring illegal aliens outweighs the benefits will we have achieved a victory for the American worker, and most importantly, turn off the magnet that has driven illegal immigration for decades.

Members of Congress must stand with those American workers negatively affected by an ever increasing illegal workforce and vote NO on the PRO Act.

About Author

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RJ Hauman joined FAIR in 2015, bringing valuable legislative, regulatory, and political experience to the organization. In his role, he oversees the Government Relations department and leads FAIR’s advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration. RJ also serves as a FAIR media spokesperson on a variety of immigration issues and pending legislation. During his time on Capitol Hill, RJ gained immigration policy experience as an aide to former Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), who chaired the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. RJ holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clemson University.

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