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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Corruption Chronicles

DOL To Enforce Illegal Immigrants’ Federal “Rights”

The U.S. Secretary of Labor has warned local governments that try to crack down in illegal immigration that they cannot deny undocumented workers minimum wage, which is guaranteed under a federal law that establishes pay in both the private and public sector.

Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis singled out Alabama this month, reminding state officials that their new law to curb illegal immigration invalidates employment contracts for undocumented aliens who are guaranteed the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Alabama’s law took effect earlier this year and requires everyone to prove legal residency to get a job, enroll in school, register a car or rent housing. 

Shortly after the measure took effect, the Department of Justice (DOJ) challenged it in court, claiming that it conflicts with federal immigration law and undermines the federal government’s “careful balance of immigration enforcement priorities and objectives.”  The DOJ also hates that the law is designed to affect virtually every aspect of an “unauthorized immigrant’s daily life” and that it criminalizes their “mere unlawful presence.”

Solis, a former California congresswoman with close ties to the influential open borders movement, has vowed to help all illegal immigrants who have worked in Alabama and “whose right to the federal minimum wage or overtime pay has been violated.” In a DOL blog post this month she assures that the Obama Administration is fighting the state’s immigration control law but until the “courts strike it down” it is “critical that all workers in Alabama know their federal rights.” 

Here is another interesting excerpt from Solis’s article: “Our federal government—under both Republican and Democratic presidents—has long held that all people working in this country have the right to the federal minimum wage, regardless of immigration status…Farm workers must have their wages paid on time. Employers must provide their terms of employment in writing. And, if an employer provides housing or transportation, it must be safe.”

The nation’s Labor Secretary goes on to criticize the Alabama measure for making it a crime for an illegal immigrant to enter into a business transaction, such as signing an apartment lease or getting utility service. “Imprisoning those who seek shelter and basic sustenance runs counter to the universal rights of all free people. It’s beneath the dignity of this great nation,” she wrote.

Solis ends the piece with a tear-jerker, quoting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Geneva speech where she reminds the world that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Governments cannot confer these rights because they are the “birthright of all people,” according to the Clinton speech quoted by Solis. “These basic rights extend to immigrants living in Alabama,” Solis concludes.  

Since Obama appointed her to run the DOL Solis has launched a number of costly initiatives to help illegal immigrants and her agency has given the open borders most powerful group, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), more than $5 million to promote its leftist agenda via a network of community organizations dedicated to serving Latinos.  

Under Solis the DOL launched a special program with 1,000 investigators dedicated to enforcing labor and wage laws in industries that typically hire lots of illegal aliens without reporting anyone to federal immigration authorities. The agency has also dedicated nearly $11 million to foreign-language programs that help workers with “low literacy or limited English proficiency” and entered formal agreements with Central American countries vowing to preserve the rights of their migrants working in the U.S.  



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