Illegal aliens usually have to work “off the books,” unless they are able to forge identification papers or find understanding employers. As a result they are often underpaid and must work without unemployment insurance or social security benefits. Many illegal aliens work for members of their own ethnic groups under relatively secure conditions, though it is common for members of an ethnic group who have been in America for a while to take advantage of others less familiar with the American system. Vast numbers of illegal aliens live in communities where they work under substandard conditions under constant fear that the employers who exploit them–often members of their own nationality–will report them if they do anything to better themselves. Often these illegals are kept in situations where they are not able to learn English or make their own way in American society. This is virtual slavery.
Sub-Standard Employment. Many illegal aliens work at jobs even poor Americans do not want, like migrant work picking fruits and vegetables. Sanctions against employers hiring illegal aliens have dried up many employment opportunities. Disreputable employers have been known to inform the INS about illegal aliens in their work-force so INS agents can raid the premises and arrest the workers–right before pay-day.
Going Into Business. Because of the employment situation for illegals, many go into business, often with money they have pooled together, or with savings from illegal American employment. If the business operates on the books and fulfills all tax and regulatory requirements, the owner will rarely be questioned–by government agencies and banks–about his or her immigrant status.
Next Section:False Documents
Immigration: Chapter Home
Life in the USA Home Page.