American citizens are being displaced from the work force by illegal aliens employed in the United States. The Department of Labor lacks the necessary enforcement tools to deter employers from hiring nonagricultural undocumented workers. Employers making a practice of hiring such workers remain virtually free from punishment. The President proposed legislation which would make the hiring of undocumented workers subject to civil and/or criminal penalties, but the legislation was not enacted. The proposed legislation would have: (1) intensified enforcement of both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act; (2) adjusted the immigration status of certain undocumented aliens; (3) increased the resources available to prevent illegal immigration along entry points; and (4) promoted cooperation with nations that are the major sources of undocumented workers. Two hundred and sixty additional Labor employees were authorized to begin investigations and enforce the Farm Labor Contractor Registration Act. By enforcing the minimum wage and overtime requirements, Labor believed that there would be no incentive for hiring undocumented workers. The Labor program had little impact on hiring undocumented workers when their wages were above established minimums. GAO examined 606 Labor investigations and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) records.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|Congress should amend the FLSA to require that back wages resulting from violations of the act found to be due employees, whether undocumented or legally entitled to work in the United States, who cannot be located, be deposited in the U.S. Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.||When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Labor||1. The Secretary of Labor should act more aggressively to reduce the backlog of prosecution cases for violations of the act.|
|Department of Labor||2. The Secretary of Labor should: (1) enforce the regulations that require farm labor contractors to show evidence that they made a bona fide inquiry into each prospective employee's status as either a U.S. citizen or alien authorized to work in the United States.|