Legality of Labor Strike Force for Employers of Undocumented Workers

B-198205: Published: May 20, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1985.

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The Department of Labor's Employers of Undocumented Workers (EUW) Strike Forces are teams of specially trained wage and hour compliance officers who investigate the personnel practices of employers in low skill, high turnover industries, where undocumented workers tend to congregate. Undocumented workers are illegal aliens who either entered the United States without inspection, overstayed a visa, or violated the conditions of a visa by accepting employment. The legality of the strike force has been questioned with regard to the Labor Appropriations Act of 1979 which states that funds appropriated under it may not be used to carry out any activity for, or on behalf of, an illegal alien. This limitation does not prevent the implementation of the EUW program because the program is intended to reduce the incentive to hire undocumented workers and to penalize employers whose willingness to hire undocumented workers at reduced wages continues to lure illegal aliens to this country. The only federal funds involved are those necessary to pay the salaries and related expenses of strike force members in the attempt to compel employers to restore wages to wrongfully deprived employees. The EUW program does not enhance the alien workers' position or rights vis-a-vis legal American workers or confer on illegal aliens additional benefits to which they would not otherwise be entitled. Since the statutory limitation was already in effect at the time the EUW program was first proposed, Congress did not intend the program to be subject to the limitation.

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