According to Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano, there are approximately 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States, though some argue that the number is significantly higher. Of the number touted by Napolitano, however, that figure includes nearly seven million who are of working age.
Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate has remained at around 9 percent for months, and at least 14 million Americans are unemployed, and the percentage of working Americans has decreased to 64 percent, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But none of this has stopped Labor Secretary Hilda Solis from signing agreements on Monday with the governments of the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and El Salvador to “protect the labor rights of migrant workers from those countries who are employed in the United States.” She signed similar agreements with Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.
The Department of Labor explained the deals: “Wage and Hour Division will protect the rights of migrant workers in low-wage industries such as hospitality and agriculture, while OSHA [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] will continue efforts to improve workplace safety and health conditions as well as provide outreach and assistance to Spanish-speaking workers and employers.”
At a Wednesday breakfast event, Solis told attendees about the promises she made to Mexico and other counties to apply U.S. labor protections to illegal immigrants. She said, “I protect all workers here in this country. I have a vested interest in protecting all workers that work here in the U.S. Period.”
CNS News responds to Hilda’s assertions:
The Labor Department’s determination to make U.S. employers treat illegal aliens taking jobs in the United States as if they were U.S citizens or legal immigrants seems to contradict the Immigration and Nationality Act. That act says “employers may hire only persons who may legally work in the United States (i.e., citizens and nationals of the U.S.) and aliens authorized to work in the U.S.” and that the U.S. government “protects U.S. citizens and aliens authorized to accept employment in the U.S. from discrimination in hiring or discharge on the basis of national origin and citizenship status.”
Likewise, Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, declares, “These comments are extraordinarily irresponsible and historically unprecedented. This is a classic example of why this administration is so out of touch with Americans.”
Still, Solis claims, “Government is quite clear in terms of protecting all workers here in the U.S. regardless of origins. Under Republican and Democratic administrations, that’s the law.”
Solis’ assertions are in direct contradiction to what GOP presidential contender Ron Paul has said about how to address the issue of illegal immigration. Promises such as those put forth by Solis are sure to increase illegal immigration, not halt it. Paul said, “You promise them amnesty, promise them … medical care and free education, automatic citizenship, food stamps and Social Security — you’re gonna’ get more of it.”
Furthermore, Solis’ declaration seems to be in direct contrast with the desires of the American people. A June Gallup poll showed that more than half of Americans believe the government needs to take greater action to stop the flow of illegal immigrants at the border. Similarly, a May Rasmussen poll shows that 60 percent of voters believe it is the “policies and practices” of the federal government that encourage illegal immigration. Additionally, 59 percent of voters believe the United States should cut funding to sanctuary cities, while 61 percent “believe that a child born in the United States to a woman who is here illegally should not automatically become a U.S. citizen.” Finally, 66 percent of voters, according to a March Rasmussen poll, favors strict government sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants.
Photo of Hilda Solis: AP Images