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Preventing Discrimination

© April 2006 Claudia Garcez

How to prevent national origin discrimination?

By Claudia Garcez, Consultora de RH

America is a nation of immigrants. The cultural diversity of America is what makes this country so unique. Recognized worldwide as being the land of opportunities, the United States continues to attract many people from all over the globe. Immigrants come to the United States searching for the American dream. People believe that America is the place that allows them freedom and opportunity for all. In order to prevent discrimination against legal immigrants, the government of the United States created some specific laws. The purpose of this paper is to define laws protecting against national origin discrimination, explain actual court cases, and educate Human Resources managers on how to avoid national origin discrimination.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from knowingly hiring undocumented workers and requires employers to verify their employees' identity and work eligibility as specified on the I-9 form. It also prohibits job discrimination based on immigration status. This anti-discrimination provision is intended to ensure that all employees and job applicants are treated equally, whether they are U.S. citizens or not. In order to enforce the IRCA, The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) investigates and prosecutes employers charged with national origin and citizenship status discrimination with respect to hiring, firing and recruitment or referral for a fee, unfair documentary practices concerning the hiring process (document abuse), and retaliation. The OSC only applies to employers with between 4 and 14 employees (IRCA).


Small employers that discriminate based on National origin and citizenship status can be severely penalized. For a first time employer discrimination offense against each victim, the penalty ranges between $275 and $2,200. For a second time offense, the penalties vary between $2,200 to 5,500. The numbers can go as high as $3,300 to $11,000 for each third time offense. Victims of unlawful discrimination may receive back pay (for lost wages), instatement or reinstatement or other appropriate recourse. Victims have within 180 days from the alleged discrimination to file a discrimination charge (IRCA).

Another law protecting against National origin discrimination is Executive Order 11246. The Executive Order prohibits federal contractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors that do over $10,000 in Government business in one year from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It requires affirmative action to ensure equal employment opportunity for all. The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is in charge of enforcing Executive Order 11246 and is part of the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration. As law enforcement, OFCCP ensures that private employers doing business with the federal government comply with laws and regulations requiring non-discrimination. Victims of discrimination can file a charge within 180 days from the date of the alleged discrimination, unless the time for filling is extended for good cause presented (EO 11246).

Probably, the most encompassing antidiscrimination law and the law that is used by most claimants is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII provides that it is unlawful for an employer:

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge

any individual, or otherwise to discriminate

against any individual with respect to his

compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges

of employment, because of such individual's

race, color, religion, sex, or national

origin; or

(2) to limit, segregate, or classify his

employees or applicants for employment in any

way which would deprive or tend to deprive any

individual of employment opportunities or

otherwise adversely affect his status as an

employee, because of such individual's race,

color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Title VII only applies to employers with at least 15 employees. As a way to attempt to prevent discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is in charge of the administration, interpretation and enforcement of Title VII (EEOC). Due to the many laws and areas which discrimination can be based on, this paper will limit its focus on national origin under Title VII (EEOC).

The EEOC defines national origin discrimination as treating someone less favorably because he or she comes from a particular place, because of his or her ethnicity or accent, or because it is believed that he or she has a particular ethnic background. It also means treating someone less favorably at work because of marriage or other association with someone of a particular nationality (EEOC).

National origin discrimination under Title VII involves many aspects of employment including hiring, promoting, harassing, discharging and general employment policies. The judicial system is responsible for interpreting employers actions and deciding whether those actions violate Title VII. An example of how the employers' actions in the hiring process can be considered discriminatory is illustrated in Raad v. Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, 323 F. 3d. 1185 (2002). In Raad, a part- time teacher of Lebanese descent, sued the school district for failing to hire her for a full-time position because of her accent. Nada Raad was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with excellent and outstanding faculty recommendations. Raad then obtained her certification to teach in Alaska public schools.


Raad applied for full-time position for three consecutive years beginning in 1991. In her first interview, Raad was awarded the highest possible rating by the team of principals. However, there was a special note in her evaluation: "Raad's accent and soft spokenness may be a detractor to some instructional effectiveness." The school discrict decided not to hire Raad mainly because of her accent even though there was no evidence that her accent ever interfered with her performance to teach math and science. On the contrary, Raad consistently received compliments about her classroom performance such as "an excellent rapport with her students."

During the 1991-92 school year, Raad received numerous requests from full-time District teachers to serve as a full-time substitute teacher in their classes during their absence. When Raad requested a full-time position, the District staff told Raad that she had not been placed in the hiring pool for the 1992-3 school year because her recommendation had not been submited on the proper form. Later in a deposition, it was confirmed that the real reason for not hiring Raad was her accent. In her third attempt to obtain a full-time Biology teaching position, Raad again was rejected for the position despite the evidence that she was highly qualified for the job. The District Court of Alaska granted summary judment in favor of the defendant as to Raad's claim for national origin discrimination. However, the 9th Circuit of Appeals reversed the ruling and held that Raad had a genuine issue of material fact which precluded summary judgment. The Court stated that Raad could prove her discrimination claims indirectly by showing that the employer's explanation of failing to hire her was "unworthy of credence" because it was internally inconsistent or otherwise not believable. Additonally, the Court noted that there was evidence that the EEOC officer informed Raad that she had been denied the position because of her accent. Therefore, the Court of Appeals held that the close relationship between language and national origin is classified as discrimination based on linguistic characteristics and was unlawful under Title VII.

Discrimination based on nation origin can also take place when an employee is applying for a promotion. An excellent example of discriminatory employment practice in the promotion process is seen in Cuello-Suarez v. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, 988 F. 2d. 275 (1993). Candelaria Culello-Suarez, a seventeen-year veteran employee of PREPA, held positions as a clerk and typist. She had a B.A. degree in business administration and she also obtained her license as a Certified Public Accountant. She took at least 10 different tests required for promotions and always recieved above average evaluations in her performance reviews. Culello-Suarez applied 77 times for promotion to supervisory positions. She was qualified for at least 69 of the positions she applied for.

The employer's regulations for promotion to managerial positions stated: "The interested supervisor selects the one that he/she considers to be the best candidate in accordance to the effective norms and in accordance to the following priority order: (a) Regular and temporary managerial employees with one or more years of service with the authority; (b) Non-regular employees; (c) Candidates from the registry of eligibles." Here the plaintiff was in category (a).

The District Court ultimately found that the employer's actions resulted in a pattern of intentional discrimination on the basis of the plaintiff's nationality. The First Circuit of Appeals agreed with the District Court's ruling. The Court's holding was based on the fact that plaintiff had applied for 77 positions, had always received above average evaluations and that in 17 years she had not received any reprimands. Also, the Court noted that the employer often promoted less qualified employees, and it was silent or provided fanciful explanations for their failure to select plaintiff for any of the 77 positions.


Harassment due to an employee's national origin was also the basis of a claim for discrimination. An example of a harassment case is seen in Hawana v. City of New York, 230 F. Supp. 2d 518 (2002). In 1986, Hawana, an Egyptian man, was hired as a caseworker by a predecessor agency to the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS). Hawana sued the city and alleged he was subjected to a "hostile work environment." Hawana, the plaintiff, listed 11 dates on which the discriminatory acts occurred, although he didn't specify what happened on each of those dates. In addition, his supervisor had stated that plaintiff came from a "third-world" country. Between 1996-99, plaintiff filed repeated requests to be transferred out of his Manhattan ACS office but the transfers were always denied.

In 1997, Hawana filed a discrimination charge with the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) in which he alleged he was dicriminated against because he was Egyptian. The CCHR dismissed plaintiff's complaint and plaintiff was terminated in 2002. In 2002, the EEOC issued Hawana a right-to-sue letter. An arbitration was held and plaintiff's union lawyer was present. The arbitrator found that there was no evidence to prove hostile work environment. Hawana appealed and the Court agreed with the arbitrator and made a decision favoring defendant. Summary judgment was granted for the defendant. Based on this case, one can conclude that it's difficult for a plaintiff to prove that national origin discrimination creates a "hostile work environmnet." Unlike other claims under Title VII, there needs to be more than one act of dicrimination to rise to the levels of working in a "hostile work environment."

One of the largest areas of claimed employer discrimination occurs in the discharge process. An example of discriminatory practice in the discharge process is seen in Rocco v. American Longwall Corporation, 965 F. Supp. 709 (1997). In this case, plaintiff was an American citizen who was layed off by his former British employer. Rocco was hired in 1986 by a British corporation which had world-wide operations. He was hired as district sales manager for the Meco-Owens in the Bristol-Virginia division for the northern district of the United States. In 1992, plaintiff was told that the material handling division was disbanded and that he would not be able to sell belts anymore. Plaintiff alleged that other British employees who performed similar duties and/or were less qualified than he was were treated more favorably. Rocco also presented that those British employees had poor performance based on the company's records. Rocco showed statistics which indicated that a disproportionate share of Americans were laid off as compared to British employees. In denying the employers motion for summary judgment, the Court ruled that it would not be unreasonable for a jury to conclude that the employer used the sale of the material handling division as a way to let go unwanted American workers.

In addition to national orgin discrimination being claimed by an individual employee, it sometimes can be claimed by a group of employees on the basis that the employer has a discriminatory general policy. An example of how a company.s general policy was discriminatory is well-illustrated in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Premier Operator Services, Inc, 113 F. Supp. 2d 1066 (2000). Here, the EEOC brought a class action on behalf of 13 former Hispanic employees against their employer which operated related telecommunications companies, alleging that the "English-only" workplace policy violated Title VII. The employer/defedant hired the employees based on their ability to speak Spanish. The employer's business was to service Spanish-speaking customers in connecting long distance telephone calls. However, defendant created a "Speak-English-Only" policy prohibiting the speaking of Spanish on the company premisses. The policy was posted at the entrance of the company's building as follows:

Absolutately No Guns, Knives or Weapons of any any kind are allowed on these premises at any time! English is the official language of Premier Operator Sercives, Inc. All conversations on these premises are to be in English. Other languages may be spoken to customers who cannot speak English.


This policy prohibited the speaking of Spanish at all times, including lunch breaks. The discrimination was such that defendant planned to install a public telephone outside the building so that Hispanic speakers would have to go outside to make personal phone calls during which they might speak Spanish. The policy was not job-related or consistent with any business necessity for the defendant. Plaintiffs alleged that English-Only policy was implemented and enforced by the defendant as a tool for national origin discrimination. The Court held that employer's blanket policy of requiring that English be spoken exclusively, except when communicating with non-English speaking customer, was disparate treatment discrimination based upon nation origin, in violation of Title VII. Plaintiff, on behalf of 13 terminated employees, was entitled to a judgment of $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages as to each person. This amount was to be allocated and assigned by the Court to each component of the damages, as appropriate, for a total of $650,000.

After defining the laws prohiting national origin discrimination and the possible consequences for violation of Title VII, this paper now will focus on how HR managers can prevent national origin discrimination. There are a number of measures that a HR manager can take in order to prevent national origin discrimination. First, HR managers should use best practices decisions when recruiting, hiring, promoting, firing or layoffs. Concerning recruitining and hiring, it's considered national origin discrimination to recruit individuals who belong to certain national origin groups and excluding members of other national origin groups. It's also considered unfair practices to recruit individuals by word-of-mouth. This practice has the effect of discriminating against particular national origin groups, such as Arab or South Asian applicants. Also, such a recruitment method is less likely to reach a diverse pool of job seekers and may tend to reinforce the make-up of the existing work force to the exclusion of other qualified individuals (EEOC comp).

The best way for HR managers to reach qualified applicants is by using a variety of recruitment and hiring techniques. These techniques include job fairs and open houses, professional associations, search firms, internships and scholar programs. Such approaches are more likely to result in a diverse pool of job seekers. Other tools for recruiting include specialized publications or websites, including those directed to particular communities (EEOC comp).

As for promoting or transferring an employee, HR managers should not base such decisions on national origin. Instead, theses decisions should be based on the qualifications of the applicant. Title VII protects people from national origin discrimination in all aspects of employment, including in recruitment, hiring, promotion, transfer, wages and benefits, work assignments, leave, training, discipline, layoff, and discharge. HR managers should not tranfer an individual based on customer or coworker preferences or perceptions about an individual's ancestry or ethnicity. Such decisions are unlawful and based on discriminatory preferences. The failure to comply with Title VII can result in employee claims and consequently litigation. In 2004, the EEOC alone received 8,361 charges of national origin discrimination. This cost employers over $22.3 million (EEOC statistics).

Concerning discipline, demotion, and discharge, HR managers should base their decisions on either employee misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance. When HR managers decide to discharge or "lay off" employees, they should make sure they are doing so for clearly nondiscriminatory reasons like nationality. Examples of non-discriminatory reasons are seniority, quality of work or quantity of work (EEOC comp).


Second, HR managers are required to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlwaful national origin harassment. According to EEOC, National origin harassment occurs when it is so severe or pervasive that the individual being harassed reasonably finds the work environment to be hostile or abusive. Examples of national origin harassment include ethnic slurs, workplace graffiti, or other offensive conduct directed towards an individual's birthplace, ethnicity, culture, or foreign accent. Such a hostile environment may be created by the actions of supervisors, coworkers, or even nonemployees, such as customers or business partners. The EEOC specifically defines some relevant factors to consider when evaluating whether national origin harassment has been commited. Those factors include the following: whether the conduct was physically threatening or intimidating; how frequently the conduct was repeated; whether the conduct was hostile and/or patently offensive; the context in which the harassment occurred; and whether management responded appropriately when it learned of the harassment (EEOC comp).

In order to treat employees fairly, HR managers should take preventative steps as well as correct national origin harassment. Probably, the most important step to prevent national origin harassment is effective communication. Employees should be made aware that harassment based on national origin will not be tolerated and that employees who violate the prohibition against harassment will be disciplined. Those actions should be based on the company's policies. HR managers should also effectively address complaints in order to solve future occurences. In addition, HR managers should train managers on how to identify and respond effectively to harassment (EEOC comp).

Third, HR managers should not make decisions based on an employee's foreign launguage, unless the foreign launguage clearly interfers with job perfomance. Examples of language discrimination include accent discrimination, English fluency, and English only-rules. Employers need to know that English fluency is required only for teaching, customer service and telemarketing service positions. Even for these positions, HR managers must determine whether the particular individual's accent interferes with the ability to perform job duties. An English-only rule may be used if it is needed to promote the safe or efficient operation of the employer's business. This assessment depends upon the specific duties of the position in question and the extent to which the individual's accent affects his or her ability to perform job duties (EEOC comp).

When evaluating whether to apply an English only-rule, HR managers need to make sure that this is required for the efficiency of the business. In order to decide whether this is the best way to go, HR managers should consider many factors. First, there must be clear evidence that there are safety justifications for the "English only-rule."An example is in the case of emergency for which employees must speak a common language in order to promote safety. Second, that there is a business justification, such as communicating with supervisor or effectively communicating with customers. Third, it's when the English only-rule is needed for the effectiveness of the rule in carrying out its objectives. An example is where there are cooperative work assignments in which a common language is needed to promote efficiency. Finally, the English fluency of workers affected by the English only-rule. An employer's use of an English-only rule should relate to specific circumstances in the workplace. As long as HR managers can prove that adopting the rule is a "business necessity" then the company is protected from discrimination claims. However, HR managers should caution companies from implementing an English only rule unless it is absolutely necessary and it can be clearly defended (EEOC comp).

Finally, HR managers must treat ALL applicants and employees the same. The IRCA requires verification of the identity and employment eligibility of all potential employees, regardless of national origin including U.S. citizens. In order to do so, HR managers need to train their staff on how to use the I-9 form. The I-9 form has several combinations of legally acceptable documents listed on the back from which they can choose. HR managers should allow applicants or potential employees to present any document or combination of documents acceptable by law. The person in charge of checking the I-9 form requirements cannot prefer one document to others. Not all authorized aliens carry "green-cards." The IRCA states that as long as the documents are allowed by law and appear to be genuine on their face and to relate to the individual, they should be accepted. Applicants should not be asked whether they are eligible to work in the United States. In addition, the I-9 form must be retained for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date of employment (IRCA comp).

The failure to verify the identity and employment eligibility is punishable by fine. The OSC has received more than 6,000 charges of discrimination based on national origin or citizenship status since 1987. These charges have a tremendous negative impact on the company. This has cost almost $2 million in back pay and more than $1.3 million in civil penalties for violations of the anti-discrimination provisions. According to the OSC, immigrants from Latin America and Asia are most likely to be victims of job discrimination based on national origin and citizenship status. In addition, the OSC has had recent cases that include even long-time U.S. citizens (IRCA pen).

HR managers, to be effective, need to recognize that every person in the United States has ancestors which came from foreign lands. They need to be cognizant of the many laws which prohibit discrimination acts based on a person's national origin. It must be understood that national origin is broadly defined to include a person's ancestory or accent. A HR manager must be aware of how the Court's interpret the laws and what employer actions will not be tolerated. Finally, the HR manager has to effectively communicate with managers and supervisors on how to deal with employees appropriately and consistently. Only by avoiding national origin discrimination, can all people truly chase the American dream.

Works Cited

Employment and Labor Library. Employer Guidelines for Complying with the

Immigration Reform and Control Act. April 11, 2005. Available at:


United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.Title VII of the Civil Rights

Act of 1964. April 4, 2005. Available at: https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/vii.html

United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Other Federal Laws

Prohibiting National Origin Discrimination in Employment. April 4. 2005.

Available at: https://www.eeoc.gov/origin/otherlaws.html

United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Questions and Answers for

Small Employers About National Origin Discrimination. March 22, 2005.

Available at https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/quanda-nationalorigin.html

United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Compliance Manual Section

13: National Origin Discrimination. April 14, 2005. Available at


United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. National Origin

Discrimination. April 4, 2005. Available at:


United States. Department of Labor. Compliance Assistnace Executive Order 11246.

April 4, 2005. Available at:


United States. Department of Labor. Executive Order 11246, As Amended. April

11,2005. Available at: https://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/statutes/ofccp/eo11246.htm

United States. Department of Agriculture. IRCA Antidiscrimination Provision.

April 4, 2005. Available at: https://www.usda.gov/oce/oce/labor-


Westlaw. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Premier Operator Services,

Inc, 113 F. Supp. 2d 1066 (2000). April 18, 2005. Available at:



Westlaw. Cuello-Suarez v. Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, 988 F. 2d. 275 (1993).

April 18, 2005. Available at:



Westlaw. Hawana v. City of New York, 230 F. Supp. 2d 518 (2002). April 18, 2005.

Available at:



Westlaw. Raad v. Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, 323 F. 3d. 1185 (2002).

April 18, 2005. Avialable at:



Westlaw. Rocco v. American Longwall Corporation, 965 F. Supp. 709 (1997). April 18,

2005. Available at:


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Wed Apr 12 15:15:13 2006: 1891   BigDumbDinosaur

...prohibits employers from knowingly hiring undocumented workers...

How about if we call these people what they are: illegal aliens. They gained entry to this country by violating our borders, which makes them criminals. In most countries they would be imprisoned and then deported. In a few countries, they would be shot if caught by border guards. I'm thoroughly fed up with this BS of trying to sanitize the problem with the "undocumented worker" moniker. How about if these people stay in their own countries and work to fix whatever ails them -- not come here, crowd into our schools, consume social services funded by legal taxpayers, drive down the standard of living in the areas that they populate, and then have the unmitigated gall to march in the streets demanding that we change our system and way of life to suit them -- all the while proudly waving their country's flag.

It also prohibits job discrimination based on immigration status. This anti-discrimination provision is intended to ensure that all employees and job applicants are treated equally, whether they are U.S. citizens or not.

You are reading too much into the law as written. The law merely prohibits hiring discrimination based solely upon citizenship status. Employers do have the right (and duty, in my opinion) to give hiring preference to U.S. citizens, assuming that all applicants are similarly qualified. To do otherwise would be reverse discrimination -- hiring someone because they are not a citizen.

Another law protecting against National origin discrimination...

Let's be real careful here with the terminology. National origin has nothing to do with whether someone has the right to work in the USA. This law was written to protect those who were foreign-born but otherwise have the legal right to work within the USA (that is, they are citizens, resident aliens or have a temporary visa giving them legal status to work -- an employee of a foreign company, for example). The law does not protect an illegal alien from anti-hiring discrimination.

I have to question why this article was even posted here (I didn't see anything in it that remotely relates to computers). This entire piece smacks of an uber-liberal attempt to fool readers into thinking that the anti-discrimination laws cited above have, in effect, already granted some sort legal status to illegal aliens. That is not the case at all. These people have no protected status under current anti-discrimination law and I believe it would be absolutely stupid to make it otherwise.

Wed Apr 12 15:47:57 2006: 1892   TonyLawrence

First, it's published here because we also deal wth small business issues.

Second, I completely disagree with you. Borders are political entities that have useful purposes, but also serve to separate the haves from the have-nots. These people are humans trying to better their lot, period.

Wed Apr 12 17:13:07 2006: 1893   TonyLawrence

And by the way: I am uber-liberal, and damn proud of it. I'm sick up to my eyeballs with the conservatives who are now in control of this country: making themselves richer while not giving a damn about anyone else, starting wars based on lies and wanting to shove their religion into our laws.

I hope this country wakes up before it is too damn late. In my world, "liberal" is not a dirty word: it's a word to be proud of.

Thu Apr 13 00:33:16 2006: 1895   BigDumbDInosaur

First, it's published here because we also deal wth small business issues.

Good point -- I consider myself suitably rebuked.

I'm sick up to my eyeballs with the conservatives who are now in control of this country: making themselves richer while not giving a damn about anyone else, starting wars based on lies and wanting to shove their religion into our laws.

As am I. I do not like the Bible-thumping bozos who are running our federal government. These people are not conservatives. They are reactionaries. I highly resent them trying to force their superstitious bullshit (which is my definition of religion) down everyone's throat. I had more than enough of that crap when I was a kid living in a Catholic-run orphanage.

My beef vis a vis illegal immigrants have nothing to do with liberals or conservatives, but with the draining away of limited financial and social resources by people who are not contributing to our system. Legal immigrants who are now naturalized citizens (which group includes my mother, my deceased father, my step-father, as well as many other relatives) came here by legal means, worked with the system we have and when the time came, took the oath of citizenship and pledged their allegiance to the USA. How about if all these illegals who sneaked across the U.S.-Mexican border do the same thing? They want to take advantage of what we have, yet continue to be Mexicans. Sorry! It can't be that way. If they can't go to the trouble to enter legally, learn to live with our language and customs, and work toward achieving citizenship, I (and apparently many others) don't want them here.

I'd be more than happy to help a legal immigrant get off to a good start and avail him/herself of the opportunities that we have. Plenty of people have come from foreign lands, settled here and did the right thing. The Israeli family that owns and operates our local convenience store is a perfect example. My wife and I patronize their store because they are nice people trying to get ahead -- legally. They are building toward the "American dream" and we are willing to pay a little more for groceries and such because these people have worked hard to earn our business.

But, for an illegal to march in our streets, wave a Mexican flag and demand that we law-abiding, taxpaying citizens change our system and foot the bill because they are looking for the easy way out -- not a chance! They have no right to demand anything! Even if those people did become legal I wouldn't give them the time of day, let alone any of my hard earned money, just because of their attitudes.

Borders are political entities that have useful purposes, but also serve to separate the haves from the have-nots.

Borders also serve to protect the sovereignity and culture of a country. Perhaps if our government had taken border and immigration security a little more seriously during the 1990's, the stage would not have been set for the carnage and destruction that occurred on September 11, 2001, eh?

These people are humans trying to better their lot, period.

So what? If they are desperate to better their lot, why do they have to come here to do it? Why not work to solve their problems at home, instead of exporting them to the USA? Why should we have to change our way of life and absorb the costs of accommodating Mexican immigrants? I really don't give a crap if they are poor. I didn't put them in that position. Their political and educational systems put them there. If these illegal aliens marching in the street had stayed in Mexico and worked to get the crooks out of their political system perhaps they wouldn't need to sneak into the USA.

And by the way: I am uber-liberal, and damn proud of it.

I'm not, so Tony and I will never see eye-to-eye on all political matters. <Grin> Nevertheless, I respect his views and his ability to clearly express them. We're fortunate to live in a society where such views can be expressed without fear of some jackbooted storm troopers showing up one night and giving us a one-way ride to the nearest slammer. The shop manager for one of my clients is a Russian immigrant (a legal one, BTW, who will be taking the oath of citizenship later this year) who is old enough to recall when the occasional Black Maria would arrive at someone's home to take away some poor devil who had expressed an opinion at odds with the official Soviet government position. Despite the best efforts of certain presidents (FDR and Nixon being good examples), we haven't gotten to that point -- yet.

Thu Apr 13 00:38:07 2006: 1896   bruceg2004

"I hope this country wakes up before it is too damn late. In my world, "liberal" is not a dirty word: it's a word to be proud of"

Well said. I think most of us liberals kind of predicted a lot of what Dubya was going to do to this country, but I never imagined it would get this bad. Things are really getting scary. He makes Nixon look good.

- Bruce

Thu Apr 13 10:49:33 2006: 1897   TonyLawrence

Like Willie Sutton, they come here because "here" is where the money is.

I do agree that we shouldn't have "illegals". Instead, we should liberalize our immigration policies and welcome and embrace anyone who wants to join us.

Anyone. Anytime. If they are criminals, through 'em back or punish them here - whichever makes more sense for the circumstance. Require working toward citizenship in a reasonable time period, require understanding of our freedoms and protections, but let them in.

They'd be better citizens than most of the brain-washed who are born here.

Thu Apr 13 13:58:26 2006: 1898   bruceg2004

Not to mention their work ethic! Some of the hard jobs they are willing to do, just to better themselves is a great example of how much someone is willing to work hard to better themselves and their family. If they were to be educated, and put that same willingness to work hard, and learn new skills, you have a very dedicated person who would be a great addition to our country. Some of the lazy people in this country could learn a thing or two from some of these people, and maybe make a better life for themselves.

Maybe our kids would not be so far behind if they had more of a motive to work harder at school. Some of the math and science skills are really disturbing, and maybe partially the reason why so many of these jobs are being shipped overseas. I realize the labor cost is much lower, but there are other factors like supply of the knowledge needed.

It also seems like we are pushing too much school work on our younger, elementary kids! Have you seen the books they bring home now? They have to wheel them home in suitcases for crying out loud! That is way too young to bring on the school work. I can see maybe 6th, 7th, and 8th graders having a higher workload, but not 1st-5th grade. They are still learning basic social skills, and should not be doing homework for 3 hours a night. They tend to learn more by exploration at those younger ages, and really don't need a suitcase full of books to bring home. If mom and dad would spend the time with these kids, instead of pushing them off to a babysitter, nanny, what have you, mom and dad make great teachers for kids at that age, but many parents seem to think that it is 100 up to the school to teach our children.

OK, I am starting to bable, and get off topic, but my main point is the work ethic that some of the people coming across our border have, and if that could be applied to school, and learning, we would be back in the top of the most educated countries, and take back our country that way. The Republicans seem to want to keep people as mushroom minds: kept in the dark, and fed sh*t. How anyone with any sort of logic, reasoning, and education can believe anything from this administration, needs to be de-programmed.

- Bruce

Thu Apr 13 15:46:03 2006: 1901   anonymous

The Civil Rights Act applies only to citizens !!

Thu Apr 13 17:06:52 2006: 1903   TonyLawrence

Common humanity and morals applies to everyone.

Thu Apr 13 21:29:01 2006: 1908   TonyLawrence

"So what? If they are desperate to better their lot, why do they have to come here to do it?"

I wonder what YOU would do if you lived in Mexico. Dirt poor, corruption surrounding you, your children hungry, uneducated, little medical attention..

And across the border? The land of milk milk and honey. Just a little problem: the US doesn't want you. Or really it does: there are plenty of jobs waiting, jobs that could mean the difference between life and death (literally) for your family. But officially, no, you'd be a criminal - which makes it all the easier for you to be exploited and abused here, but hey, even the worst we can give you is better than what you have now..

I know what I would do.

Thu Apr 13 22:23:39 2006: 1909   drag

I am all for immagration. I have no problems with Mexicans or whatnot and were I live there are large number of people from Mexico, illegal and legal.

And frankly the only time I've ever heard anybody refer to somebody else as 'wetback' in a serious manner was a legal immigrant Mexican refering to illegal aliens. He was fairly pissed off about the whole situation.

Sure the majority of people comming into the US are hard workers looking to make better money they could in Mexico.

But that's not all of them. A full 30 of people in federal prison are in this country illegally. For the first time in a nearly a hundred years we are having huge increase in rates for diseases like tuberculosis and other third-world style diseases, in intercities and this is due directly to people coming accross the country illegally. The people if they came in legally would be stopped and treated instead they are hiding away spreading this stuff around. Then you have people abusing the health care situation and welfare situations. You have large increases in crime and drug distribution. You now have violent mexican street gangs that spread not only into US from mexico, but into other countries. Smuggling people, smuggling drugs, and doing all sorts of other stuff.

So to say that these people are in this country simple to seek a better life is bullshit and ignoring the real issue.

Yes, most are like that, they just want a good job, but many aren't. Mexico is a fairly corrupt nation and isn't to sad to export their criminals and other scum to let the US athorities deal with.

What we need to do is simple. This country needs to increase the rates of legal immigration between the US and Mexico. Get people in that are actually looking for good jobs and good opertunities and keep people out that simply want to take advantage.

Next you need to crack down in United states corporations that import these illegal aliens. These are the people that are pushing this sort of thing.

And it's not that they want to give people good jobs.. is that they want SLAVE LABOR. They want people that have no rights, that can't orgnize, that are afraid to stand up for themselves so that they can pay them*\*** and take advantage of them.

If farming and meatpacking industry was to seek out LEGAL aliens to work then they take on responsability of their healthcare, their housing, and other needs. These people come from another country and have to be taken care of and it's cheaper for these corporations to import people illegaly, because then society in general has to pick up the burden of dealing with these people and not the corporations.

Then you need to severly stiffen the border security on both sides. Mexico actively pushes it's own citizens to cross illegaly. They get rid of the poorest of the poor plus it's exporting illegals is a multimillion dollar industry and brings in bucket loads of cash into the Mexican economy.

That way if the government was able to remove the financial insentive to hire illegal aliens through increasing fines and enforcing the laws we already have, increase the ease for people to cross in a regulated and legal manner, and making it more difficult and expensive to come into the country illegally then this problem would of been solved yesterday. It would of been a non-issue.

The whole thing just kind of makes me sick. The current politions are sold out to business to keep these people here so that they can keep their psuedo-slave labor and they try to veneer it by saying it's a human rights issue.

News flash: Your politicians are full of*\***. Both sides of the isle.

Thu Apr 13 22:25:43 2006: 1910   drag

"A full 30 of people in federal prisons are in this country illegally."

I ment 30 percent.

Fri Apr 14 10:29:17 2006: 1911   TonyLawrence

Well, it is partly a human rights issue.

As you note, there are people abusing immigrant labor. They can do that because of the illegal status - and that flows to the legals, too because of supply/demand issues.

I absolutely agree that a large part of the problem is the companies hiring illegal workers. A little sloppiness in document checking and they can claim it wasn't their fault, but we all know that they couldn't get away with the wages and working conditions they offer if there weren't this undercurrent of illegality.

As to the 30 percent, the disease etc. : these are all symptomatic of poverty and ignorance. These are the root causes.

Conservatives are always worrying that someone is "cheating" them, that the "welfare queens" are sucking them dry, and so on. There ALWAYS will be cheaters and they should always be punished, but the real cost of poverty, of ignorance, the real cost of an underclass far, far exceeds the cost of any cheating. Our treatment of the poor and disadvantaged is the rot of our society and it both diminishes and impoverishes all of us.

We have tremendous wealth, and we greedily hoard it. "It's not my fault these people are poor". Yes, it is. It is our fault and it costs us in ways most don't even consider. Never mind the moral considerations, the financial cost of poverty is staggering. The political risk is great, also: sooner or later the barbarians come to the gates.

Arrgh. As Drag said, it all makes me sick.

Fri Apr 14 17:29:09 2006: 1918   TonyLawrence

Claudia (the author) wanted to add a comment, but had some trouble (I have to figure out WHY). Here's her comment:

I wrote this article with the intent to educate HR managers on how to avoid national origin discrimination. HR is part of every business. In the beginning of the paper, I mentioned that the cited laws are meant to protect “LEGAL IMMIGRANTS.” I understand this is a tremendous controversial issue and I do respect others point of view. Also, I understand that this article was taken to a place where it wasn’t meant to go. But, I would like to answer to some of the responses I got. First, I would like to thank Tony Lawrence for publishing my article and for being understanding and compassionate about the misery of others. As for the ones who seem to have no compassion with “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS” in this country, I would like to mention that the majority of people who are here illegally are just striving for a better life and doing jobs that Americans won’t do. We should not forget that PEOPLE are PEOPLE and HUMAN BEINGS. PEOPLE should not be labeled and all of us should be given a chance to work and provide for our families. If some of you think that it is outrageous that people from other countries come here striving to work really hard to support their families, imagine how people in the Middle-East feel for having a “HELP” that they didn’t ask for and a “HELP” that is destroying everything they have. As many of you, they don’t want foreigners to be there, but I guess they don’t have a choice. Although, we may have different opinions about this very controversial issue, I am glad that Tony Lawrence gave all of us a chance to express our views.

Fri Jun 17 14:48:29 2011: 9572   BigDumbDinosaur


If some of you think that it is outrageous that people from other countries come here striving to work really hard to support their families, imagine how people in the Middle-East feel for having a “HELP” that they didn’t ask for and a “HELP” that is destroying everything they have. As many of you, they don’t want foreigners to be there, but I guess they don’t have a choice.

I see. It's okay for the folks in the MIddle East to resent an invasion by foreigners. However, it isn't okay for American citizens and taxpayers to not want an invasion by foreigners from south of the US/Mexican border. Sorry, lady. You sound to me like an illegal alien apologist.


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