WBUR

Brown: Coakley Shouldn’t Shield Illegal Immigrants

BOSTON — In a direct attack on his Democratic opponent in the U.S. Senate race, Republican state Sen. Scott Brown has filed a bill that would require proof of citizenship or legal residency for people seeking action against employers for violating the state’s wage laws.

As attorney general, Martha Coakley has aggressively enforced laws protecting workers’ wages. Before the campaign, her office often announced settlements with companies she sued for allegedly violating prevailing wage laws or avoiding payroll taxes. Coakley represented everyone, including illegal immigrants.

Her opponent, Scott Brown, said that encourages people who are here illegally.

“As a top law enforcement official, her No. 1 job is to enforce the laws of the state and to protect citizens here legally and the people who are here with the appropriate immigration status,” Brown said during a telephone interview.

Coakley’s campaign said she has “fought to level the playing field” by holding companies accountable when they “seek to gain an unfair advantage by violating wage laws.”

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  • susan james

    Does Mr. Brown’s legislation include real penalties for companies employing persons
    who are here illegally?

  • Ferial

    But if *some* workers won’t have the protection of the law, what’s the incentive to hire *legal* workers. After all, if illegal immigrants will work in dangerous conditions for fifty cents an hour, why should a company hire me?

  • Tom Driscoll

    Were Brown to crack down on prostitution he would likely say we should stop bothering pimps who “help keep those girls in line.”

  • Roger and Robbie Butts

    Illegal still means Illegal to Scott Brown —Thank You! Martha Coakley only enforces laws with which she agrees. Illegal Aliens have broken the law and are taking Legal American jobs. Many of us will sweep floors, serve tables, make beds etc., Perhaps even our teenagers can work part time to help with living expenses. Out with Illegals—in with U.S. Citizens. Does that make me a Racist or Xenophoboic or are we a Nation of Laws as Mr. Brown would like to bring back. Please answer the question.

  • Dave

    Ummm… isn’t it the federal government’s job to enforce immigration laws, not the state government? Does Mr. Brown’s bill mean my “green card” holding wife cannot file a complaint against her boss for wage violations based on his bill? Something doesn’t compute here.

  • susan james

    Roger and Robbie,
    You are correct. Illegal is illegal. Companies paying sub- minimum wage are breaking
    wage LAWS and are therefore doing something ILLEGAL and should be held accountable.

  • bill

    “Ummm… isn’t it the federal government’s job to enforce immigration laws, not the state government?”

    Just because the law is federally mandated doesn’t mean state and local law enforcement can not enforce it.

  • matsuiny2004

    illegal immigration is not coakleys fault it happens regardless of who is in power

  • matsuiny2004

    There are already illegal immigrants using our emergency services. If scott brown is elected this will remian the status quo since he is against the health reform bill which republicans have not offfered an alternative to.

  • matsuiny2004

    by republicans I mean conservatives

  • Richard

    Not enforcing wage laws??? This is ridiculous!

    By not enforcing wage laws protecting undocumented workers, Brown wants to give companies a green light to pay slave wages for these workers.

    This doesn’t mean fewer undocumented workers will be working.

    Quite the contrary. If companies don’t have to follow wage laws, it makes it easier and more profitable for them to use undocumented labor.

    This gives them an even GREATER incentive to hire undocumented workers– meaning lower wages and fewer jobs for American workers.

    Scott Browns knee-jerk anti-immigrant position hurts Americans workers..

  • Mary

    Allowing illegals to be covered under worker’s comp, etc.. establishes a bad precedent, it encourages them to stay. If Richard truly cared about protecting citizen workers he would demand that our immigration laws (which were established to protect citizens from being discriminated against by employers who might try to profit by hiring illegals) be enforced. As to Dave. Brown didn’t lump green card holders in with illegals, you’re trying to put words in his mouth. I’ll wager that your wife isn’t a green card holder, and you’re just another pro-illegal fascist looking to facilitate the further displacement of citizens. I’m a former dem, now an independent, and I’ve contributed to and will vote for Brown. I refuse to support the corrupt dems, who have regressed to their shameful former status as the party of slavery and Jim Crow.

  • mommom

    So Scott Brown wants to create an “underclass” of lower paid undocumented workers to serve their masters who will be afraid to speak up because of their undocumented status.Its ok with him if employers violate the law,as long as they are doing it to people who can’t vote for him.

  • Delaware Bob

    For the Love of God, get our immigration laws ENFORCED! Stop pandering to illegal aliens and their illegal alien children.

  • Tom Driscoll

    Scott Brown doesn’t realistically think his proposal would ever become law. This isn’t about illegal immigration. It’s about using the fictional premise of a piece of stagecraft pseudo-legislation to take a pot shot at a political rival. He betrays little respect for the citizens of Mass in the State Senate, thinking the same would serve him well on national stage.

  • noislamocommie

    It makes sense to deny illegal aliens rights which should be afforded only to citizens. We must respect RULE of LAW or all the blood spilt to defeat tyranny and establish this free nation goes for naught. They should be deported…PRONTO. They are causing wages to lower via competition.We have 12,000 illegals crossing over into this country every day. It is an invasion and is bankrupting this NATION!
    If you have concerns for the well-being of lawless border jumpers…take one,adopt him, pay for his schooling and offsspring,buy him healthcare.Allow him a debit card into your bank account.DON’T IMPOSE IT ON me!
    COAKLEY is a total disgrace she kept an innocent man in prison for an additional three years to further her political ambitions! If you Massachusetts citizens cannot abide freedom and liberty then WRITE IN GERALD AMIRAULT on the ticket!

  • Curtis Dobbins

    In California, Labor Code Section 1171.5 (b) states: For purposes of enforcing state labor and employment laws, a person’s immigration status is irrelevant to the issue of liability.
    I work for a Plaintiff’s attorney and we attempt to enforce California’s prevailing and overtime laws. For the class of the protected, but still illegal workers, the above law that protects them is not useful. The illegal immigrants don’t want any involvement with the legal system. You can tell them the law, show them the law, and they don’t trust it. I’ve seen a case where not even one employee out of 500 could be located who was willing to participate.
    For the most part, you should consider an illegal immigrant not as a victim but as a co-conspirator. I don’t blame them. They are exercising a desire for a better life. However, we should recognize the attempt to convert them from co-conspirators to law enforcers has not reaped the benefits that were intended. (And his active involvement as a Plaintiff in a civil action is crucial. No proceedings can even be started without his coming forward.) In fact, maybe it has worsened their condition: The rogue employers coupled with loyal co-conspirators create an atmosphere of intimidation. It’s usually not the job owner who enforces compliance and restrains complaints; it’s a band or family of loyal co-conspirators. To rebel against them is much too risky.
    The fact that there would be unintended consequences might have been foreseen from the logical inconsistencies of the immigrant protection law. A legal citizen possesses a sense of outrage at unequal treatment and does not suffer from any fear of exposure. On the other hand, the illegal immigrant presents himself for unequal treatment. Why do we expect him to initiate action in proceedings in which he has guilt?
    As a point of fact, I can tell you most of the illegal immigrants refuse to participate because they see it as dishonorable. What gives them the right to point the finger when they had been only too happy to break the same wage and hour laws. Most class action lawsuits against employers that contain large numbers of illegal immigrants were started by employees who were legal but have many ties to the illegal employees. They face a battle both in and out of court.
    Another problem: Since the protection law makes the issue of citizenship irrelevant, it weakens the Plaintiff’s case because the obvious fact of an employer using undocumented labor cannot be presented. Wouldn’t a jury like to know that 95% of an employer’s labor force was undocumented? But try and raise that issue and immediately you will hear, “Objection your Honor, that issue is irrelevant based on Labor Code Section 1171.5.”
    The protection law is wrong because it recognizes as right something which is wrong. An illegal immigrant should not have employment rights. What Scott Brown has done is bring the argument back to its inconsistency. Expect the opposition to resort to ad hominem attacks like, “Scott Brown wants to create a victimized class,” or mischaracterize the basic question of whether it is right or wrong to deny employment rights to illegal immigrants.

  • MarkP

    Dear Atty General Coakley, You are a useless Battle-axe. Please remember that as you try to fill the late booze-bag’s shoes. Thank you for your time…

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