Employers and immigrant rights groups are speaking out against rules announced Aug. 10 by the Bush Administration requiring employers to fire workers without valid Social Security numbers. Opponents argue that the regulations, effective in one month, will create a disastrous ripple effect in the U.S. economy and disrupt the lives of an estimated 12 million undocumented people in the U.S.
"Throwing this rock in the pond will have devastating consequences," says Craig Regelbrugge, co-chairman of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform and spokesman for the American Nursery & Landscape Assn. "The anti-immigrant crowd hasn't thought through what would happen if this entire workforce went away. Who will be there to put meat and vegetables on American dinner tables? The only unaffected group will be Americans who do not eat."
Industries that employ large numbers of undocumented workers, such as agriculture, construction, cleaning, and maintenance, will be disproportionately affected by the rules. Regelbrugge estimates, for example, that fully 70 percent of all U.S. agricultural jobs are now occupied by undocumented immigrants. "There's panic right now in the agricultural sector," says Regelbrugge. "(The policy) will force employers to either fire experienced, trained workers or put their head down and hope law doesn't catch up with them."
Source: Business Week, http://businessweek.com
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