Immigration Crackdown With Firings, Not Raids

The Obama administration wants to reduce illegal immigration by forcing employers to fire unauthorized workers. American Apparel fired 1,800 workers.

Comments: 86

  1. Great news! Now those employers can begin to fill those jobs with citizens and start paying them decent wages. This will help with unemployment and give jobs to those who have lost their jobs to lower paid immigrants...the kind of citizens being forced into tent cities which is, of course, Villagarosas rather sick dream. Obama is correctly working on the unemployment problem by removing those who have caused it. Japan is giving financial incentives for its foreigners to go home in an effort to lower its unemployment rate. Obma seems to be doing what Bush and Clinton should have.

  2. Despite the human touch inserted by the writer, the fact remains that "Illegal" still means illegal. All elements of the case proffered by the owners of the factory could be said about American citizens if they held those jobs. These passion plays are belied by the fact that many more illegal aliens are in line to replace the dismissed workers and that American citizens are denied these job opportunities because they are NOT alien. This does not a work ethic make. This is desperation and sugar coat it all you will, it is exploitative of the actual workers and of workers in manufacturing all arcross this country.
    It is interesting to note, that employers do not seem to draw the scrutiny of the EEOC when they openly hire predominately aliens, regardless of their immigration status. This is in violation of EEOC guidelines as to racial or ethnic discrimination as well as Civil Rights laws. Past and present administrations have shown that they cater to industry lobbyists and union busters and the average Joe be damned. The Democrats are worse than the Republicans because the Democratic Party continues to pretend that it is the party of the working man. Unions belatedly came on board the pro-immigration bus because they eventually realized that the government would not try to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. It became better, in their eyes, to join them if they could not beat them.

  3. Maybe this is naive, but it seems like there must be a market solution that could have an impact. If we eliminate the incentives for hiring illegal immigrants - it doesn't happen by accident; there are incentives - then the flow of immigrants might slow down substantially. If jobs are no longer abundant and available to illegal immigrants, there would be less reason for them to come here unless they a) want to go through the citizenship process or b) go through the enormous trouble of faking it in a much more sophisticated way. I don't think our system needs to cruelly tear apart families and eject people who have built lives here but it's ridiculous to think this ISN'T a problem, and I think a lot of well-meaning liberal-leaning people are happy to gloss over the negative impact of illegal immigration.

  4. There is no excuse -- none -- for hiring people who are not legally in this country. It is a fundamental right of all nations to decide when, how, and why non-citizens may cross its borders and what they may do when in the country. It is a fundamental responsibility of a national government to control the country's borders. What non-citizens think about the immigration laws or enforcement practices of a democracy is entirely irrelevant. US citizens essentially determine the direction of US government policies. Non-citizens have no such right. Like any other nation, the US is not obligated to allow entry to citizens of other nations simply because such individuals find it more convenient or profitable to be here instead of in their own countries.

    Those who find our immigration laws problematic are persuade the Congress to change those laws, but they do not have a right to flout those laws because it is convenient or profitable for them to do so. If you don't like a law, work to change it. There is no moral imperative to allow people to come here illegally for their own economic benefit. If you want to help people of other countries improve their lot, there are ways to do that that don't require breaking US laws. If there is any moral imperative regarding illegal immigration, it is not advantage those who jumped the line over those who followed the rules to come here. How do you explain to someone who waited years to immigrate here legally that we look the other way while millions gain jobs by slipping over the border? That's the outrage here.

    If you want to see what illegal immigration does, come to my neighborhood. See roadways clogged with people wandering around hoping some slimy contractor will offer them a day job. See the schools clogged with children whose parents are illiterate in two languages. Peek into the overrun emergency rooms. Check out the gang violence. Try to conduct a simple retail transaction with someone who doesn't speak English and doesn't care, either. Talk to legal immigrants frustrated at the miserable state of an area they once helped to revitalize. Experience firsthand what happens when the government doesn't do its job.

    I have come to have no sympathy with illegal migrants. Go home. Now. And I have even less for those who employ them. It's cheaper, you say. They'll take the jobs, you say. They're more cooperative, you say. Well, if that's all that counts, why not go back to slavery and then you'll have all the cheap, docile, ignorant laborers you want. Don't kid yourself, that's really what illegal "immigration" is all about. It's just another excuse for exploiting human beings for private profit.

  5. I fail to see the problem. I know the NY Times is a big supporter of amnesty but it hasn't arrived yet. In the interim the law must be enforced. Frankly they should be deported and someone should look into the constitutionality of the Obama administration refusing to enforce the law, as it is charged to do, by not deporting the illegals they have identified.

  6. This is even better than raids on places that hired illegals. Good for Obama for coming up with a common-sense solution for dealing with illegal immigrants.

  7. This article shows the obvious failing of trying to pretend to be balanced by representing all sides without any critical insight into their logical merits. Specifically regard the quotation:

    "The firings, however, have divided opinion in California over the effects of the new approach, especially at a time of high joblessness in the state and with a major, well-regarded employer as a target."

    This implies (but avoids saying – the mark of a half-truth) that the “firings” will increase unemployment at a time of already high unemployment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before we reach the end of the article we find out that people are lined up at the factory looking for these newly-opened jobs. So the factory has discharged illegal immigrants and replaced them with new workers. From the Times’ description, most of the new, legal, workers are Hispanic immigrants. There will be no increase in unemployment, just higher rates of employment for those legally entitled to work. The main beneficiaries are, in fact, legal Hispanic immigrants.

    Compare actual events to the claims of “immigrant advocates” that those who call for enforcement are "nativists," "anti-immigrant" or "anti-Hispanic."

    Dov Charney, the company’s chief executive, may be right when he says: “No matter how we choose to define or label them,” he said, illegal immigrants “are hard-working, taxpaying workers.” But the people who replaced them were are also “are hard-working, taxpaying workers.” The difference is that the replacements are entitled to work in this country and eventually the limits on the size of the legal labor force will force Mr. Charney to pay more. In fact, contrary to Mr. Charney’s claim that they are “taxpaying” workers, most of his workers probably earn so little that they qualify to RECEIVE payments under the Earned Income Tax Credit. Mr. Charney's position is not altruistic, but clearly in his own, naked, financial self-interest. Cheap labor makes him richer!

  8. "Immigrant Firings Raise Issues"
    The only issues it should raise are:
    1. Legitimate companies are indeed hiring illegal?
    2. How many more have taken desirable jobs from Americans?
    3. Will we now start having compassion for unemployed Americans and not the illegal who break our laws getting into the country and into the jobs?

  9. You will not get native born American workers to be as loyal, hard working and dedicated as those working for American Apparel. Forget recruiting in the tent city, or on skid row. You will get bad attitudes, arrogance and a sense of entitlement. You will get uncontrollable, unreliable headaches. Those 1800 jobs will eventually land in Honduras, Belize or somewhere cheap, and dependable.

  10. Fabulous! 1800 jobs now available. One small step for United States citizens seeking steady employment above the minimum wage. Keep it up Obama. In time there might actually be some downward movement in the number of unemployed Californians. Those who are here legally, of course.

  11. So called progressives shout down anyone opposed to amnesty and label them racist. Why aren't they working to change the countries where the illegals come from, specifically Mexico? Nothing will ever change as long as excess population can sneak across the border. That plays into the hands of the Mexican oligarch padrones, allowing them to oppress and exploit their workforce.

    The biggest impediment to progress in Mexico and Central America is the rampant crime. We need to export the rule of law and a sense of justice. It could be done for a few billion a year. Recruit and train police among the illegals here in the US with the proviso they return to Mexico. Subsidize their salary for a few years Train the in modern police methods, DNA, etc.

  12. Unless there's proof that American Apparel turned away American citizens that applied for these jobs, people should not accuse these workers of stealing jobs from Americans. While the workers may have have entered this country illegally, they hold no ill intention toward Americans. They are merely trying to earn a living. As they collect wages, they pay taxes that help pave our roads and improve our schools, among other things that all Americans enjoy. Without comprehensive immigration reform, people like Jesus will not be able to become citizens for years due to administrative backlog that lasts for years. These workers should not be punished for that either.

  13. Three cheers for Obama. It's time to crack down on illegal immigration and the employers who allow illegal immigrants to take jobs that could be done by American citizens.

  14. Most of the people who commented here should take also that time spent reading the report and write the comments why is it that there is over 40 million immigrants including legal and even their ancestors.
    Only ignorant people do not want to understand the real reasons or take the time to find out the truth.

  15. In Canada, we hear a lot about your new "buy American" policy and how the waves are affecting both sides of the border economically.

    That being said, in my mind it makes perfect sense, if you are going to stand on such a policy of "buying" American that the goods should also be "made" by Americans. Otherwise it is a hypocritical policy.

    I feel for the families of the immigrants who are affected and I would like to see the ones who have done so well and contributed so much allowed to become citizens. They have proven themselves it seems as good citizens.

  16. In a year we will read American Apparel moved to Mexico or China. Americans do not want those jobs. These are the jobs their grandparents or parents held, and this type job is looked down upon. Besides it is hard work, bad for your eyes, hands and back.
    I hear people say , if they pay better Americans would take these jobs. How much is 'better pay'?
    No wonder China is enjoying economic boom.
    Many forget that not all in the family are illegal. Most of children are born here and they are Americans who deserve to live with the parents.

  17. I am a to be immigrant from India who arrived legally 15 years ago, still jumping through hoops and yet to become a green card holder. Please don't ask me to feel sorry for anyone who entered this country illegally, got a fake green card and settled down. It is like someone broke into your house, because he was hungry and tired, ate the leftover dinner and now sleeping in your couch. I bet NYT would empathise with this guy and probably give him the guest room.

  18. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all this mythic illegal immigrant vigor were applied to the homelands instead of milking our country for jobs and education. There is no reason to accept turning California and the country into another Mexico because their elites prefer gathering billions in remittences instead of building a viable country for its citizens. And of course, why give lip service to a "sustainable future" if we keep allowing millions of new consumers in each year to gobble resources.

  19. You couldn't pay Americans enough to work in jobs like this. Its a sad day when Americans are applauding the government for telling a private company who they can and can't hire. For all you right wing nuts who approve of this sort of thing, just wait -- the government will be poking its nose into your business too. Just read the posts... Some say the company is exploiting the workers, while others are saying that Americans are clamoring for these jobs. Guess what -- both of these statements are probably false. People wouldn't work these jobs unless they thought they were getting something valuable in return and the current generation of soft-bodied Americans couldn't do this kind of work.

  20. How come there is never any crackdown on these shameless companies? There needs to be accountability on the hiring companies as well.

    There are so many Americans looking for work, willing to take anything. It's complete hogwash that companies need to hire illegals.

    Fire the illegals, but fine the companies for hiring them in the first place too!

  21. It's hard to hear how anti-immigrant the commentary is, overall. We are mostly descended from people who came to the US to do better, to educate their children. The Mexicans and other immigrants are no different, except that perhaps they haven't been afforded the opportunity to obtain residence visas or become citizens in the way our ancestors were.
    Why are so many people living here illegally? Why haven't we as Americans, dealt with the great number of people who don't have visas? I have plenty of foreign white collar friends who manage to get working visas eventually, but it seems that at the lower end of the work force where people have less money, and are more desperate for the work, nobody cares that much, except to chase and insult and blame them for our country's economic ills. Our economic ills come from the top, not the bottom of the workforce. Oh that it were that simple a problem.
    In the European Union people travel from poorer countries to richer ones to work, and there are problems, but they can do so legally, with safety. Nafta is confusing in its pros and cons, but has certainly not brought our countries together as a community.
    Do you know how a Honduran gets to the US? He gets on top of a train (not in one), has to go through both Guatemala and Mexico where he is not treated well and then has to find a coyote to get him into the US where he will walk for miles in the desert and then owe about three-thousand dollars for the service. These people do not want to leave home. They are not here to "take away" from people in the United States, but to get work where it is available, and there should be legal avenues available for them to do so. Yes, their own countries should lobby our government harder to get more visas, and yes they should be responsible for their own populations, but they're not. We are in a depression, but we still have more than most other countries in the world. We need to treat people with the dignity and fairness I think comes with being an American.
    Why, after working for ten years at American Apparel, don't these workers have visas?

  22. Why is it that the supposed party of the "free market" insists on the heavy hand of government when it comes to immigration? Are they not aware that restricting the free flow of labor is just as much a violation of the principles of the free market as is restricting free trade?

  23. chriskox is right. Those in favor of deporting illegal aliens have no problem with them making their clothes for them, they just want them to do it somewhere out of their sight. Because God forbid a nation of Christians welcomes strangers (and fellow Christians!) with open arms.

  24. Because of the lousy WTO and economists who speak for the robber barons, workers in America have to be many times more productive than workers in Chinese factories to justify their higher pay rates. I wouldn't work in this shop not because of bad pay but because you'd be a whirling dervish trying to compete with the low paid Asian workers (not to mention I would have to speak Spanish to communicate with my fellows). Well I guess they did say that Amer Apparel has a proprietary method to outproduce those workers. Yes hire illegals that can be run at double speed without complaint. The quality has to be fantastic, right. Free trade is a seriously flawed concept and has quickly destroyed valued jobs for low skilled workers. Study history, America protected domestic industry with tariffs for decades (in periods of our greatest economic successes). Don't blame them for the great depression, we have one now and I doubt you could seriously blame tariffs. Free trade has brought us to this.

  25. How do you think Mexico will react when 10 million workers invade their country for work? Think they will be as just as America? I think not. Think we are from that ahppening? Look in your local want ads!!! What is next America? Are jobs are leaving and they are not coming back!!!!!!!

  26. Instead of a high fallutin speech to the Islamic world, a little common decency to our neighbors would have been a real foreign policy breakthrough. By the way, our neighbors to the south are not fond of saying Death to America (yet) even in the light of our high handed and arrogant treatment of Latin Americans when they are our guests.
    By the way, "Illegal" often means "Came here legally but overstayed their visa". We have become such bad neighbors that it is no wonder Chavez is gaining support among Latin Americans. Peru stands almost alone in supporting us. But that is another topic.
    The implications of our treatment of our neighbors when they are guests is beyond the subtleties of American policy makers who veer from one hysterical crisis to the next, like a drunken driver in a skid.
    The Aztecs were defeated by a few Spanish soldiers because they antagonized their weaker neighbors. We should learn from history or we won't have a friend left next door. Shame on us.

  27. That's the beginning of the end. Firing thousands of people with no chance of ever getting a job in a country where it's easier to buy AK-47 than an ice-cream. Fighting illegal immigrants means that Americans will have to give up the American Dream and start working in groceries, cleaning toilets, washing dishes at night all for $5 an hour. So called "illegal immigrants" are modern slaves. Nothing more, nothing less. They were allowed to do all the dirty work and pay taxes to keep USA wealthy. But no pension or medical coverage for them. They're illegal you see. So who cares.
    Parents or grandparents of 99.99% of NY Times readers were immigrants and the only reason these people became "legal" is that at one point some bureaucrat in immigration office decided to let them live here. Like an almighty God himself.
    I really don't understand how the most prosperous nation on Earth who claims itself to be the moral leader of the new world, cannot control it's southern border. The nation that keeps track of all the objects larger than a golf-ball moving in near space. USA can't control it's border or doesn't want to? Maybe Empire needs slaves and lures them here? Someone needs to build houses, sew T-shirts and jeans, make hamburgers and clean up NY city dirty streets. Maybe Americans instead of sitting in offices or buying larger houses, want to go dig ditches for $5 an hour because someone has to?
    There's a huge downside to the sacred American Dream though. It is that "legal" yuppies can't afford to have more than one kid without sacrificing their way of living. "Illegals" have nothing to lose and must have many kids if they want someone to support then when they get older. So Americans are falling victims to their own insatiable greed. Yuppies are dying off very fast and are being replaced by illiterate illegals and their children.
    In my mind there are two possible solutions:
    1. deport 'em all, but that means full scale civil war
    2. treat 'em like people and try to educate them and their children, so that these people can get out from illiteracy and poverty and become decent members of society

  28. Clearly, barring a near total economic collapse, Americans will never again fill the ranks of these feudal-type laborers as they have grown accustomed to far greater standard of living. This wouldn't have such serious implications if it were not for the fact that we never got around to investing in that educational infrastructure which was supposed to turn our newest generations into a deep, highly-skilled labor pool that did not require the availability of blue-collar labor on a large scale. Had we cut our defense budget by even 10 percent at any point in the past three decades, we would have been able to send every citizen through to, at the very least, an undergrad level of education.

  29. I applaud this action by both the Obama Administration and the Apparel Company. There are certainly 1800 citizenz or legal immigrants to fill those jobs in Los Angeles.

  30. Bilbray doesn't usually speak to me, but I hear him loud and clear on this one. Not only should we protect US jobs by enforcing labor laws on hiring of illegals, we should also, as citizens, protect our workforce in the marketplace by purchasing goods and services from companies that are dedicated to keeping jobs in the US. When your phone service or other utility suddenly connects you to customer service in another country, start looking for a provider who has those services based in the US. Those companies are out there, and if you ask questions, you will get the answers you need to make the informed decision.

    Bravo to the Obama administration. They have chosen exactly the right company to spotlight their enforcement policy. So what if American Apparel pays relatively high wages for garment workers? It is probably still not high enough to attract a legal workforce, and should go even higher now that they are forced to compete in the legal worker market.

  31. Several points: If illegal immigrants use false Social Security and other documents, are they not guilty of identity theft? Which is a crime, the last time I looked. Why are these illegals not being prosecuted for this illegal activity?

    Also, how much of their wages are these illegals spending in California? Which would improve the economy in their own neighborhoods. Or, are they sending a large part of their wages "back home," which may be helpful for their families in Mexico, etc., but does nothing to help the economy in the country which is giving them work. How much in additional Medicaid spending is it costing the citizen taxpayers/legal migrant taxpayers when those illegally here show up in an emergency room?

    Why do supporters of illegals always tout how "hardworking" they are, and posit that U.S. citizens won't do "these jobs? If work is sufficiently compensated, U.S. citizens will do almost anything. Like risking their lives fighting forest fires. Like maintaining septic systems. Like coal mining. Or any of dozens of jobs that I might shun.

    The United States can't solve the world's problems, or be the world's employer. Those here illegally ought to be deported. Let them work at improving the countries of their origin.

  32. America has her priorities wrong. Ofcourse being force-fed Lou Dobbs every night on CNN doesn't help. "Pass laws to simplistically outlaw and criminalize apparent problems; then quote the so-called rule of law to continue to not have to deal with the underlying issues". America can "outlaw" US employers from hiring "illegals", but is this really the right approach? It outlaws the best of human nature (to work to support one's family and improve one's lot in life), turns US businesses into an unwilling enforcement arm of the Federal government, violates so-called free market principles (shouldn't US companies be free to hire whom they choose?), and showcases America for what she's become (intolerant, xenophobic, unthinking and unfeeling). The US gives tax amnesties and offshore bank account amnesties to the rich, and gun amnesties to the crazies. It is time for an enlightened immigration law framework that encourages family unity and economic growth, that actually helps the rule of law by passing humane, sensible laws that work with people and businesses (not against them), and that recognizes that everyone in America (everyone) either comes from somewhere else or descends from someone who did.

  33. May be Mr. Dov Charney should change is slogan of "Made In USA" to "Made In USA By Illegal Immigrants!" He knows exactly what this game is. Having lived in SoCal for 25 years, I saw many times, as an HR Rep for several large manufacturing companies, the top brass would always turn a blind eye and go for the cheaper labor. They knew good and well that 100% of the "Proof of Citizenship" documents were fake! That's why I left there! There are thousands of legally born Americans living in Los Angeles that would gladly take these 1800 jobs and would do excellent work. Dov Charney doesn't exactly have a sterling record on how he treats his employees (do a google search on his name and American Apparel regarding sexual harrassment cases filed against him)! He's a sleeze ball! But not unlike Roman Polanski, he thinks he's above the law and has been getting away with hiring illegals for years. Mr. Obama needs to enforce and deport these illegals back to their country. As for Jesus, he's has to do better than the fact that they will mistreat him because he is gay. Mexico has legalized Gay marriage. Nice try Jesus! Let them move to Canada and try and get a job there! Hmmmmm!

  34. Great...1800 illegals now unemployed, not paying taxes, and receiving free and unlimited healthcare under EMTALA.

    Send them home please. And make it illegal to show up at an emergency room, receive care, and not pay.

  35. The obvious and effective solution is to make the upper management responsible. If the penalties affected them personally and profoundly the companies wouldn't be hiring an undocumented worker in the first place.

    That said, most US citizens don't have the skills to do these jobs and unless we change our education system to include more vo-tech high schools we will continue to have problems filling jobs that require skilled labor.

  36. Hello CEO American Apparel:

    These are criminals, illegals, they are openly breaking the law.

  37. Our Government, past & present, Republican & Democrat, have allowed the invasion of 20 to 30 million criminals and uneducated peons which is the largest invasion of any Nation, at any time, by any means & in direct violation of Article IV, Section IV of our Constitution.

    This refusal to abide by our Constitution or enforce our Immigration Laws should be classified as Treason of the most foul kind, & as grounds for impeachment & trials for Treason!

    Not only have they allowed the invasion, they force American tax payers to pay Billions on Billions of dollars to provide Welfare, Prison cells, Educate the invaders numerous children, and free medical care, at the same time the invading horde break numerous laws and massive document fraud, & are destroying our schools, hospitals, communities, culture and standard of living while Robbing, Raping, Killing & Assaulting American Citizens WAKE UP PEOPLE!

  38. What is it about "illegal" that people don't understand? A good first step that should be concurrent with the opportunity for amnesty and citizenship for those who have proved themselves to be good citizens. Twenty years of being a good citizen should count for something.

  39. Funny how advocates for illegal aliens screamed for so long to stop the raids because of their "inhumanity", but now that the raids have stopped and government is using bureaucratic methods they're still screaming. These new cries make it very clear that those pushing for amnesty have no desire for ANY control over who lives here and who works here or for ANY enforcement of our immigration laws.

  40. to Ulterior - our own police departments and other law enforcement agencies are facing cutbacks and you want us to pay to train illegals in law enforcement to then go back to their own country to work? Why should we pay to train illegals? Why shouldn't their own countries bear that burden?

    And why aren't these companies facing fines? And whose Social Security numbers were these illegals using? What problems will the legitimate owners of those Social Security numbers face when they apply for Social Security? Whose identities have been stolen? This is not just a problem of illegals working "under the table" - they were using false identification.

    I don't see or hear any of the bleeding hearts crying about the separation of families when a legal citizen goes to jail or prison. Those families are torn apart, too, even if the sentence is for a few months. No - we seem to forget about the children of those legal citizens who may be in jail for traffic fines or similar crimes, but then forgive the breaking of our own immigration laws.

    What law can I break and get away with it? Even be rewarded for breaking the law? Can I sneak into Mexico and expect to be rewarded with social services, classes for children who do not speak their language, and can I march in parades demanding rights to which I am not entitled while waving the American flag? Heck, no.

  41. Sounds like American Apparell pays a decent wage, has fairly good working conditions, including benefits for its workers. Now the big question is, with 1800 people fired, how many American citizens will actually apply for those jobs? That will be the telling point. Folks who are pro-illegal aliens claim Americans don't want to do those jobs at that pay. The Anti-illegal block claims they steal our jobs. Please do a follow up, I think its important to the debate to see how many citizens actually take this opportunity, and KEEP those jobs, to become part of a productive work-force.

  42. When the US has a surplus of jobs,(not like now) we bring in immigrants to fill the void as does every economy in the world. Now millions are desperate for jobs including L.A. inner city people and I am sure that many legal Americans would line up to work for the "above the rate wages with benefits" American Apparel offers. Do you really believe it is fair to give jobs to illegal immigrants? Something is missing from the story: American Apparel pays above standard to illegal immigrants and no legal citizens want these jobs? Are we really that ignorant to believe this scenario? Nothing against immigration, but it must reflect the reality of our economy. We always complain to government that we do not care enough for our own legal citizens while we give billions to foreign intersts in one shape or another. Now we are prioritizing our efforts and still people are on the ideological high-horse? Good work President Obama!

  43. If Mr. Charney is so eager to hire illegal aliens instead of Americans, then why not simply establish his business in MEXICO? What benefit is there to AMERICANS from locating his business here if he won't hire them? Trade is supposed to be about countries producing what they have a comparative advantage in, and if Mexico has cheap labor, then it should produce cheaply there (where the standard of living is comparable) instead of trying to use cheap labor in a country with a high cost of living and heavy social welfare.

    And Natalia, if the cost of living in the U.S. were anything like China, WE could afford to take lower wages. The rest of the world, especially China, has relied on the U.S. consumer to buy its goods and is finding that when Americans don't have jobs and don't spend, that means that Chinese jobs in export industries disappear, too. By the way, American-born kids of illegal aliens are free to return with their parents to their parents' country. H-ck, countries such as Mexico recognize the kids as their citizens as well, so the BOTH the kids and the parents are THERE legally. No country that I know of decides the citizenship of the parents based on the citizenship of the kids.

  44. Ulterior says: "The biggest impediment to progress in Mexico and Central America is the rampant crime. We need to export the rule of law and a sense of justice. It could be done for a few billion a year."

    Hold it one minute. Much of the rampant crime in Mexico and Central America is due to 2 factors: 1. Demand for drugs from the U.S. market -- Now whose job would that be to clean up? 2. Gangs founded in, and deported from, L.A. Neither is wholly responsible for underdevelopment in Latin America. That has a long history, partly due to colonial factors, partly due to US and other post-colonial meddling (NAFTA, CAFTA, US proxy wars). The current crime wave is clearly tied to factors that have their roots in the US.

    It is true that there are things we should be doing to help neighboring countries. My first choice would be community-based development, rather than law enforcement. I am very sure that most of the migrants would rather stay at home, if possible.

    I agree with Villaraigosa. The administration would do much better to focus on prosecuting abusive employers of undocumented labor. The folks who preferentially hire undocumented immigrants because they can underpay, deny benefits, harass, intimidate, etc. are much more worthy of attention than is American Apparel. AA sounds as if they treated all workers equitably; undocumented immigrants may have occupied job spaces but they were not having an adverse effect on general standards of pay and treatment. AA don't need to be the front line of enforcement. I suspect they got it because they kept enough records to make themselves an easy case ...

    As for Bob F's carryings-on about the rights of governments, I'd remind him that immigrants have been required to have visas for less than 100 years, and that the I9 requirement goes back only to 1986. This is not exactly deep history; I'd classify it rather as recent bungling in need of rectification. It's clear that at least one of the people interviewed for the story cannot safely return home.

    As for the immigrant work ethic -- True in spades! I have family members from another country -- legally present -- who have chosen to work short-handed for years now. They work for a small shop, really decent folks, the pay is legal but not high. They've been through some American assistants, but what they got for low wages was a series of kids who spent their time playing computer games or smoking in the parking lot, turned up drunk the morning after payday, dissed the boss, and were generally not worth putting up with. I've noticed I take a lot less sick time since marrying into this family. Maybe there are some standards that immigrant workers *raise* too!

  45. Put an ad in the LA times for jesus' job at $900.00 pw and see how many American citizens or legal permanent residents apply. This empty cliche about Americans don' t want these jobs is just an excuse for not hiring Americans and legal residents.

  46. Hiring illegal immigrants is appalling.

  47. One has to wonder. It's the middle of the recession, and American Apparel has just discovered 1800 illegal immigrants with 9-10 years seniority. Since they're illegal, they won't qualify for unemployment. And since some of their jobs need to be filled, they must be replaced, but by trainees and those with no seniority.

    How many other companies are going to "suddenly" discover large numbers of illegals among their staff?

  48. We need mandatory E-Verify for all US jobs. If illegal workers cannot get a job, they will deport themselves. It is too expensive to live in the US.

  49. Anybody ever heard of an I-9 form? It is illegal to hire "illegals" to begin with. If an organization employs people without filling out, filing, and/or and turning in this paperwork, then one also wonders if they are filling out the rest of the appropriate paperwork such as the W-4 forms, etc. If THAT is in question, then this raises further questions about whether the business is filling out its tax returns correctly or even paying taxes at all. Enter: The IRS. Think I'm nuts? Most businesses that fail do so because they "forget" to pay employment taxes, and eventually get slapped with a huge tax bill and a penalty fee they can't pay. Say goodbye to your favorite new restaurant.

    That should also include these clothing makers mentioned in the article and the construction industry. Yes, I know that means that your favorite jeans and your middle class, suburban houses will cost you more, since sweat shops and cents-on-the-dollar construction labor go away. Like it or not, those things would have cost you more to begin with, had the industry followed the law.

    All this Obama Administration policy amounts to is a recommendation to follow existing employment law. What is frustrating is that it stops short of true enforcement and effectively gives amnesty from fines for being in violation of the current law. Ignorance of the law or opposition to it does not warrant violating it at will. Don't agree with me? Ask any judge, attorney, or even your local traffic cop and see what he or she thinks of this.

  50. A home owner hired an illegal alien to do their housekeeping and another to help build a sizable addition to the house. BOTH JOBS THAT LOCAL AMERICAN CITIZENS WOULD HAVE GLADLY HAD!!!!!

  51. RIGHT ON, JOHN FROM NEW YORK!! There aught to be a law against companies and all business' hiring "illegals" of any ilk/nationality. Perhaps if they did we would not have the 'unemployment problem' that we do now all over the United States. For myself, I am sick and tired of having to trying to understand someone when doing busines of any kind because they can hardly speak English, angry about so many young Americans trying to get jobs to aid in paying for their college education, and also tired of having some of these people using my flower bed as a urinal when mowing my neighbors lawn. I'm all for helping those in need but first and foremost WE MUST TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN......OUR 'LEGAL' OWN.

  52. I live in NC and we are saturated with these "illegals". To my dismay and disbelief, many of these "illegals" work on the military bases...aren't we spending billions to build fences across the border? How is it if we are worried about National Security, we have thousands of "illegals" working right on our Federal Facilities, aided and abetted by the contrators who have brought them aboard? Do we indeed know who these people are and does anyone care? These folks have direct access to ammunition, F-18's, high-ranking military officials...everyone here knows this and does nothing.
    A side note; these folks are pushing down the wages significantly around here as they will work for nothing, and do not Dare complain, and are sucking the life out of the employment situation here!

  53. Am I reading the New York Times? I'm stunned by the ignorant invective contained in the comments to this article.

    People securing well-paying jobs with decent conditions and benefits, working hard and advancing, paying taxes and supporting families...sounds like the American dream to me. I just don't get why we're all so happy that the government is dismantling that. What will happen to the families of these workers? Is that really a better situation for everyone?

    Why do you think you deserve more because of where you were born?

    People are not "illegal," folks. Wake up.

  54. Will TARP supply this company with a bailout since its management is obviously corrupt and greedy?

  55. It is unfortunate that the New York Times once again takes the bait trolled by Lou Dobbs and others who shrilly demand all our border protection resources go to chase illegal immigrants. Doing so reduces the number of agents addressing the smuggling of illegal narcotics. I am not suggesting critics of immigration control are pawns of narcotics smugglers but the outcome of chasing people around the desert reduces the attention to cocaine, meth, heroin, and other narcotics, and protects the smuggling routes back to South America and South Asia. Our troops in Afghanistan are being killed with weapons funded from the drug trade which flourishes while we chase aspiring garment workers.

    You want proof? Over the last few years Mexican authorities have intercepted several multi-ton shipments of cocaine destined for the US market. How do shipments that large cross the border? On the backs of a thousand immigrants entering the US illegally? Of course not, but by pressing ICE and other federal agencies to chase immigrants those with an interest in narcotics traffic clear obstacles to entry. When was the last time you read of a major narcotics organization busted with tons of cocaine in hand? Or are we to believe thousands of street dealers in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, and elsewhere make trips to the border to pick up a pound of product?

    This is not to justify people entering the country without the proper process, but it would be nice to see the American media explore the major story instead of chasing something dangled in front of them as a distraction from serious investigation of the narcotics trade penetrating our borders, financing criminal networks, and putting national security at risk.

  56. Quoted from another"Several points: If illegal immigrants use false Social Security and other documents, are they not guilty of identity theft? Which is a crime, the last time I looked. Why are these illegals not being prosecuted for this illegal activity?

    Also, how much of their wages are these illegals spending in California? Which would improve the economy in their own neighborhoods. Or, are they sending a large part of their wages "back home," which may be helpful for their families in Mexico, etc., but does nothing to help the economy in the country which is giving them work. How much in additional Medicaid spending is it costing the citizen taxpayers/legal migrant taxpayers when those illegally here show up in an emergency room?

    Why do supporters of illegals always tout how "hardworking" they are, and posit that U.S. citizens won't do "these jobs? If work is sufficiently compensated, U.S. citizens will do almost anything. Like risking their lives fighting forest fires. Like maintaining septic systems. Like coal mining. Or any of dozens of jobs that I might shun.

    The United States can't solve the world's problems, or be the world's employer. Those here illegally ought to be deported. Let them work at improving the countries of their origin. "

  57. So, firing thousands of people from low paying jobs that so-called 'legal citizens' didn't want in the first place is a step in the right direction?
    I hope there's a follow up story reporting on how many red blooded legal American citizens line up to replace the workers who were booted. Also, what do we do with the thousands of suddenly unemployed illegals now? Let them just roam around and hang out trying to survive anyway they can or round them up and kick them out of the country? How much will it cost the government to deal with this and how will it effect our economy?
    I understand that we need to control our borders but i feel we need to re-evaluate those methods of which we do so. Hell, this country was built on the backs of slaves and immigrants! We take pride in national monuments that reflect this fact of our history!
    Anyway, I can't wait to see the backlash from this latest government action! God help us!

  58. "Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, called the dismissals “devastating,” and his office has insisted that the federal government should focus on employers that exploit their workers."

    Uh, aren't those illegals being exploited already by their employers? If the employees were Americans they wouldn't be so exploited now, would they? Oh well, that's 1,800 more jobs for Americans. BTW, don't any of you illegals try to make your way up here to Canada. You're not welcome here either. Neither are liberals who care more about illegals than their fellow Americans. Adios!

  59. The is the first part of any domestic policy by this administration with which I can agree. I live in an apartment community that is 40-50% Hispanic and I am sure that some percentage of those are here illegally. They are in general normal people just going about life, work & raising their families. I have been around them at work and they are hard and enthusiastic workers as well, but the fact remains that they are here illegally. Our lax immigration policy was an engraved invitation to cross the southern border, and the Mexican government's policy of almost shoving them across to lessen problems at home make the individuals a bit less culpable when you attach the term "illegal" to them. It is a good approach to make the employer here monetarily responsible for hiring illegals. It is far less expensive than immigration enforcement searches. But, since we actually invited most of them here with our purposefully lax policies, give them some money to help absorb the relocation; they will certainly have a tough time finding work at home. I do believe that it would be good U.S. policy to somehow help Mexico with her problems and the dis-incentives that sent her citizens here, but then we have to remember Mexico's southern border and its own harsh immigration enforcement that prevents crossing into Mexico from its southern neighbors. What is that saying, "What's good for the goose..."

  60. This approach is actually a wise one. If we simply try to apply the law, we will suffer terrible expense trying to execute it. This is reminiscent of the drug enforcement and incarceration systems. They fail miserably, but we continue to throw haystacks of money at them. I read some months ago that illegal immigration had fallen off over the last year, due to the out of country gossip mill spreading the word that there are no jobs in America. Let's continue that bent, and eliminate the financial carrot that they are chasing. We will save money and get out of debt. Then perhaps we should apply the same principle to drug enforcement.

  61. Hurray for the Yankees, they won another V in the undeclared war against their arch-enemy Mexico - not. Mexico isn't our enemy, nor are its people. They are not victimizing us by moving here and working hard at jobs, they are helping us and themselves at the same time. They are the victims, of 160 years of white supremacist de facto apartheid foisted on them so long ago that the reasons have all-but been forgotten, but which continues through inertia even as white supremacy is kaput in the U.S.

    Instead of continuing the sad mistakes made by people long dead, why not take charge and make things right for the future? It's time a bipartisan effort in Congress officially invites the people of Mexico to dissolve their corrupt Mexican federal govt. and join the U.S. as 10+ new states, allowing the border to go poof and Mexico to finally be developed to eliminate the root causes of poverty, after which we can all accept each others' existence and share the New World in peace as one big happy country, speaking da English being optional. It's not a pipe dream, it can be done during the Obama admin., but the U.S. has to make the first move since it started it. Why let an old wound fester when it can be healed? Take time to Google "Megamerge Dissolution Solution" and read my proposal showing the whys and hows.

  62. The firings “will not help the economy, will not make us safer,” he said.

    “No matter how we choose to define or label them,” he said, illegal immigrants “are hard-working, taxpaying workers.”

    That may be true, but the firings are also the only sign I've seen in years that anyone in the American government cares even a little bit about it's citizens.

  63. they really all should be deported. in other countries, illegal immigrants are thrown into jail, have absolutely no rights, cannot work at all and do not get away with even a 1/100th of the mess that they get away with here. i don't care that they are people too, they can go be people in the country they were born in, or apply for citizenship legally. it's hard enough to get a job here without wondering if illegal imms. are taking spots in the work force legal people could be taking.

  64. Enforce the law. Make the employer responsible. What a concept!

  65. Reading this and knowing that my government is taking action against illegal immigrants who have done nothing more than spent years, some more than a decade, doing nothing more than working hard, paying their taxes, and living like the rest of us will be punished for doing so.

    And the company that has treated these workers far better than any of those who hired our ancestors who came in through Ellis Island (hey- we all came over on a boat, remember?)also pays a high price for doing the right thing for it's employees.

    I don't know how American-born and raised folks have ever toured or spend time in a garment or clothing factory and actually seen suits or other types of apparel being assembled from whole cloth.

    Take a tour - forget about the wages for a minute and watch the workers for 15 or 20 minutes. Imagine that was the place you could get a job, and not as a cutter or sewer, but an entry lever job where you could start learning. It wouldn't pay $900.00 a week. The pay and the work would pretty much suck. Most of us wouldn't last more than two weeks.

    Check it out - then recheck your judgments and opinions

  66. They better start putting business owners who hire Undocumented aliens behind bars soon...

    Or you are going to see a very violent reaction from unemployed US Citizens!

    There is NO EXCUSE that the owner of American Apparel isn't behind bars now!

    And the Rerpublicans who lie and claim Americans won't do this kind of work deserve no less than a military execution!

    I am sick and tired of the corporate media pandering to lawbreakers!

  67. I am anti-illegal immigrant because I am pro-immigrant: there is an enormous difference, and no one of any political stripe should be conflating these two different positions. Illegal immigrants cheat and steal from those who are waiting in line, following our protocol, wanting to be American so badly that they do it the right way. Illegal immigrants have the opportunity to come here legally and reject it. They choose to break our laws.

    And enough with the ridiculous claim that Americans won't do the jobs that illegal immigrants are doing. They would, they do, and they have. Especially in a recession with near-record unemployment. Do you seriously think that the person who has drained their bank account, run through their unemployment checks and can't find a job would turn down anything at this point? Honestly, what American, when faced with no other choices, would turn down any steady job? I am a college educated white collar person who would work at American Apparel, or in fast food, or stocking grocery shelves in a heartbeat if I had to. I know I'm not the only one.

    The problem now is that illegal immigrants have undercut the wages for jobs, especially manual labor jobs, to the point where Americans could not support themselves and their families at that same level of pay. We need to restore the social value of these jobs by paying Americans a living wage to do them. We need to absolutely go after those who hire illegals - from CEOs to contractors and homeowners picking up illegals in the parking lot of Home Depot - and punish them. Perhaps the fine assessed could be used to pay the deportation expenses.

    We need to start thinking of our own citizens. We need to stigmatize illegals and make them feel unwelcome instead of protecting them and exploiting them. We need to stop giving citizenship to children of illegals born here (so they can no longer cry "you're tearing my family apart!" when they get deported). And it all starts with not employing them, period.

  68. They should go to go to every fast food service resteraunt, every corporate farm, every resteraunt, everywhere. Oh, who where the main immigrants that help build the houses for your housing bubble that was backed by sub-prime loans that all these big firms got bailout money from? They were from Africa, right? Wrong, they where from Mexico and Central AMerica. Instead of wanting to pay an American, who either sits in the truck with the boss, or quits after three days so he can buy a crack rock, Mexicans and Central Americans did the work for 1/3 the cost, and showed up! Americans are lazy, want to text and listen to there Ipod at work. Now there aren't many jobs, hey, they are not supposed to be here. I want that McDonald's job. I want that dishwashing job. Kick them out. But, this is nothing new...ask the Irish and the Chinese if they want to build a railroad. Start building Mexico. If not, the Chinese or Russians will. I know you'll love that. Oh, is that why the US is funneling arms there? Love the drug trade, don't we..p.s. marijuana is legal now in Mexico, it could be the next Amsterdam or Vancouver if we invested right.

  69. Bravo!! Finally a little something is being done. It is not enough, but it is something and it makes sense. Surely there are American citizens who need, want and deserve those jobs. Wish we could, but we simply cannot afford to support the entire world. Somehow, many seem to have gotten the idea that we are obligated to do just that. I, like many Americans, am treading water in the middle of the ocean with no boat in sight. As one puts one's family first, a country's leaders should put its citizens first.

  70. To all you posters saying only illegal aliens will do this work....WRONG. As usual.
    The Anti American/Anti Legal Immigrant crowd has never let facts get in the way of their opinions.
    Do yourselves a favor before you post another bogus comment like that and do a search relating to the pork and poultry companies that were raided within the last few years.
    There are now Americans and LEGAL immigrants doing those jobs, and those were also jobs "we don't want to do".

    Give it up, folks. They break our law and steal jobs and the majority of Americans are anxious for them to become legal residents once again by going back where they came from.

  71. I have said this before. Use posse comitatus and let Americans go to the sheriff or ICE and give them a tax deduction for busting the illegals. Good economic incentives.

  72. I keep reading about the tax paying illegals, whose taxes help to better our roads and schools. Are you serious?? Those illegals have anchor babies here, who then are not taught english at home, and they in turn become a BURDEN on the school system, which has to teach them english, and then teach them. On top of which, American Apparel may provide health insurance for the workers, but not for their families. This in turn creates a burden on the health system, medicaid, and hospitals who are forced to cover these illegals to the detriment of American Citizens. Also at issue is the billions of dollars spent in social services to these familes. Food Stamps, School Lunches, Day Care and Housing. I guarantee that they are not paying in enough taxes to cover even a small percentage of these costs. Let's also look at the fact that an illegal working in this or other jobs, whose family receives governmental support does not declare their income to the states, as is required because it is income obtained illegally. Therefore, they are receiving benefits they are not entitled to , illegally. This alone is a FELONY under law punishable by a fine and up to ten years in prison. Additionally, these individuals mostly live with others, who are illegal, who are bringing in unreported income, which is also not reported, again giving them the benefit of services gained illegally. What about the father who works at the factory, whose children are on government aid, his income is not reported, therefore they are gaining benefit illegally. I have yet to hear how that money will be recovered.
    Please do not talk to me about legalizing these people and letting them pay a fine and back taxes. I am in agreement with one here who said they would qualify for earned income credit. Just another way to get even more money from the american coffers.
    The bottom line is this. Enforce employment laws. Make illegals declare their past residences, income and children. If any of these are in conflict with the written laws regarding benefits, then they should be charged and forced to pay those funds back. The illegally working parent should also be required to pay back child support, future child support (to the state, not their spouse or significant other) TAKE THE MONETARY INCENTIVES OUT OF IT AND THE PROBLEM WILL SOLVE ITSELF. If you do this I guarantee the state treasuries will either swell dramatically, or the illegals will go home.

  73. "Americans" don't think sewing is demeaning work. What in the world is he talking about. I personally know 100 Americans who would be thrilled to have a sewing job paying this kind of money. What illegal immigrants don't get (and the people who hire them) is that American jobs should be given to Americans, not illegal immigrants. If you want to immigrate to this country, do it legally. I'm just sorry that this sewing factory was the first on the list. Why not the giant meat-packing and agricultural corporate giants that have devastated the Midwestern economy and use illegals to reap their giant corporate profits and ruin the health of America at the same time?

  74. If the jobs were not so easily available, to illegal alliens, then the incentive to come to the us illegally would be greatly reduced. I hate it for the workers that are being displaced but they are finally realizing the consequences of their own decisions. Put some teath in the enforcement by dictating that any business caught more than once knowingly using illegal labor should lose the business license and operating priviledge permanently and any subsequent attempt to reopen said business should be given utmost scrutiny.

  75. "American Apparel has been lauded by city officials and business leaders for paying well above the garment industry standard, offering health benefits and not long ago giving $18 million in stock to its workers."

    Um, I know a LOT of people who would love a job like this. Americans DO want these jobs. If the workers are here illegally, then they should be fired (and deported). What about illegal do people not understand? THEY ARE NOT HERE LEGALLY AND THEY ARE NOT LEGALLY ENTITLED TO WORK HERE! Duh!

  76. Good. The law is finally being enforced! If Mr. Charney and his company break the law, they should pay a price, too. Not just the illegal workers.

  77. “Immigration Crackdown With Firings, Not Raids”

    This seems to be a misleading headline since the crackdown is against ILLEGAL immigrants in the workplace.

    America is a nation of immigrants and it is richer because of it. We are also a nation of laws and cannot allow our sympathies for the struggling poor of other nations to cause us to turn our backs against America’s poor.

    Employers hire illegal immigrants not only to pay them lower wages, but also because of the intimidation factor. They are less likely to complain since they fear ICE.

    There are thousands of Californians who would love an opportunity to work at American Apparel; just give them a chance. These Americans are the same people who used to work in factories, hotels, garages and restaurants, but found themselves displaced by illegal immigrants.

    While the Administration is at it, let’s see disincentives applied to employers who export American jobs overseas.

  78. I very rarely find myself in agreement with this Administration, but I am strongly in favor of this approach to resolving the immigration status of the workforce. Subjecting employers to huge, punitive fines if they choose to retain someone and can't document the validity of that worker's documents will - indeed - change the focus of this issue...and dry up work opportunities for illegals pronto!

  79. Enforcement in the form of raids wreaked havoc on the lives of both workers and companies. Now this form of enforcement that replaces raids is less harsh, but harsh no less. This is why we need reform of immigration laws that respects fairness and due process. America is a country that has always stood for values of fairness and opportunity. ut today those values are being undermined by a broken immigration system. And to see just how broken it is, go to There's a short video that examines the post 9/11 world where people are arrested without warrants, detained in inhumane conditions, and deported without a fair trial. And it's members of congress, immigration judges, civil society leaders and personal stories of people affected that reinforce that point of view. When we deny due process to some, we put all of our freedoms at risk.

  80. What a sob story, I can tell what side this reporter is on. They are not immigrants. They are illegal alien/unlawful foreigners who do not respect this nations laws. Our laws need to be enforced, our borders secured and all illegal aliens deported. There are Americans and legal residents that would be more then happy to have a job that pays $900.00 dollars a week.

  81. Joe said:

    "Those in favor of deporting illegal aliens have no problem with them making their clothes for them, they just want them to do it somewhere out of their sight."

    Speak for yourself Joe. Just because you love sweatshops doesn't mean all Americans are so indifferent to low-income workers.

    I would gladly pay more for clothing made by Americans paid a decent wage and with decent working conditions.

    But until the stores have side by side bins, one with bargain clothing made in sweatshops for Joe to buy, and one with higher-priced clothing made by socially responsible businesses that I can buy, I am not given any choice in the matter.

    By the way, kudos to American Apparel for doing the right thing here.

  82. Now everybody can start flocking to those sweatshop jobs! Save me a spot!

  83. I think the Obama administration should focus on bringing back the jobs from other coutries, not forcing employers - who pay a decent, living wage to its workers - to fire more than a third of its workforce. Can they reverse NAFTA? That would really be something. By the way, most Americans hate all immgrants, not only illegals. It's a shame.

  84. I had a part-time household employee who was from Mexico, had valid looking papers but whose Social Security numbers did not match their name. The law was that I was only allowed to notify them, not dismiss them. They have now returned to Mexico for lack of work so I no longer have to deal with the issue, but I think employers have been in a no win situation for a long time; at least the honest ones like me.

    Immigration is also an environmental issue. If we force more overpopulated nations to deal with their overpopulation rather than making our overpopulation worse than it will be easier to deal with our own overpopulation/overconsumption problems.

  85. "..........“No matter how we choose to define or label them,” Mr. Charney(AP CEO) said, illegal immigrants “are hard-working, taxpaying workers.”............."

    So Mr Charney, are LEGAL citizens not hard working and taxpaying??

    The real issue is that Mr Charney wants illegals because they live in fear of deportation and that fear makes them soft as putty for Mr Charney.

    They don't give him trouble about OSHA, workers comp, break rules, overtime etc. The illegals do just as he says like they are in some type of trance.

    Send Mr. Charney to jail!!! He has admitted to breaking US immigration laws by his comment above. How else would he know that illegals are hard working taxpaying???

    Selective enforcement of the law is the beginning of the end to democracy.

  86. It would be interesting to know the illegal workers' views on abortion and evolution. Maintaining a stream of ultra poor Latin immigrants has political consequences, many perhaps unforeseen by the Democrats who favor such a stream thinking it will benefit their party.