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Undocumented Nannies, Housekeepers and Household Employees

Feb 26, 2008
What the future holds for "undocumented workers" should interest household employers of domestics - especially if the government decides to crack down on these employers.

When immigration doors opened during the Amnesty Law, many people from Mexico and Central America took advantage. Millions flooded the gates and followed the legal steps to enter this country while taking the jobs no one else wanted. These immigrants and others from around the world struggled to stay in the system and pay their dues.

Today, most of these people hold proper documentation to work here. They are established and are the ones who deserve jobs. Once the immigration doors were shut, people found other ways of coming in. Why not? People planning to enter the country illegally know they can escape poverty and corruption, bring their family to a country where they can make a decent living, pay no taxes and receive free benefits.

Conversely, they might have second thoughts if they came here and discovered there were no jobs because employers were afraid to employ undocumented workers for fear of stiff fines and penalties, or jail time for breaking a federal law. Also, if they found there were no free benefits to help their families survive, they would probably stay in their own country.

Even though there is increased awareness about hiring legal domestics, there has been little concern about doing so. A number of hi-profile individuals who failed to comply with the law damaged their careers as a result.

Curiously, many perspective employers who were aware of the consequences of violating the law simply felt it didn't matter if they hired an illegal because "they were not running for office."

Truth be known, the real reason many employers don't follow the rules is because they prefer hiring cheap labor, and are not interested in putting domestic employees on payroll. The associated cost, along with the paperwork hassle often seems a little too daunting. Translated, money is the driving force when making many of these kinds of decisions.

Think about the possible ramifications of hiring a nanny or housekeeper responsible for taking care of a child and a home in the hands of someone that does not even hold a valid identification card. Imagine the difficulties involved to track such an employee if anything bad were to happen.

It is important for employers to know that domestics are not independent contractors and must be put on payroll. Many employers who hire documented workers continue to pay cash wages. This kind of practice subjects the American people to higher taxes, while allowing those who choose to live here and become legal residents to receive benefits and never pay into the system.

Solving this problem won't be easy. As long as there are employers willing to pay cash wages to illegal and documented immigrants the flood across our border will continue. The effect will drain our social services to the point where they will become bankrupt and simply shut down.

Employers who hire on this bias are responsible for creating the economic crises in many states around the country. It's no longer possible to talk out of both sides of our mouths.

Feeling strongly about hiring documented workers and wanting to see an end to the flood of illegal immigrants entering the country is something most Americans support. In order to stop the flood, it's important to limit medical and welfare benefits to undocumented workers who never pay taxes to support such programs.

America is a nation of laws and does not have to suffer to save the world at the expense of its own economy. If countries in Central America and Mexico were less corrupt and more interested in the well being of their people, not so many people would be fleeing. It is not the responsibility of American taxpayers to care for every individual who wants to live here.

Our focus should be on those who came here legally and who are part of the system. There's no reason why being a gardener, factory worker, nanny, housekeeper, or field worker should be considered denigrating, low paying work reserved for "illegal immigrants".

There is high unemployment all over the country. Why not elevate these jobs, pay decent wages and insist that only those who are legal to work and willing to pay into our system be the ones employed as we all do in order to receive the benefits that this great country has to offer?
About the Author
Marta Perrone, author of How to Find, Hire, Train and Maintain Household Help. Free report: Top 10 Mistakes Household Employers Make When Recruiting Help.
http://www.domesticpublications.com, http://domestic-connections.com, http://martaperrone.com
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