I am a small business owner. And sometimes I regret not beginning this type of sentence with the word (sadly). One of the greatest issues/concerns that I lie down and awake with is the illegal workers invading this country like a fast growing cancer. This is a problem that the mainstream does not want to share nor openly discuss.
Allow me to explain from an objective view. I have and run a landscape design and installation business. It is not massive but it pays the bills, keeps a roof above, and food at the table.
As much as this sounds great, the challenge to maintain is far greater than that of being an employee elsewhere or even the corporate entity.
So many of my competitors hire illegal help and I use the word "help" because they cannot label them as employees. These helpers work for less, five to ten will live together in one apartment or a comparable form of housing. Since their employers do not pay the state required workmans comp insurances along with required limited liability insurances for these individuals, it allows their bidding process to low ball and underbid those of us whom pay our dues to the government.
It costs so much to simply run and operate with the purpose of being legal in the eyes of big brother. Yet, big brother is allowing us to slowly go down in flames even though we are the worker bees. What is even worse, these illegal workers do not pay taxes, and most take their money back home to their families where the dollar is worth more (for how much longer I dunno). So, we have a quadriple slam against our nation’s economy.
(1) Employer is not paying the insurance and taxes RE the employee/helper.
(2) Employee/helper is getting cash, yet not paying taxes.
(3) Employee/helper places money into an economy outside of the U.S.
(4) Local and legitimate small business either suffers and/or fails. In turn, another business starts in its place using illegal help.
It is a win win situation for the hired help. How can we possibly maintain with this behavior is being allowed yet now seemingly justified by this administration. I am in a constant battle some days riding around scoping work when every other jobsite I view has workers in a fathom setting that cannot speak English, will not discuss their legal status, nor their source of payable income. It is obvious to me that the White House wants us to fail long enough to allow more illegal workers to vote. it is sad enough to know that these workers go home for a month out of the year only to come back to the U.S. with two more family members.
Even more alarming is how these folks have a driver's license with a fake name and social security number. How do I know this? When I worked as a supervisor for a real estate management company, I found various employees that admitted they were illegal. The company was secure with the helpers because they completed work timely and efficiently. This work ethic has been a ticket for all illegal workers. Companies turn the cheek knowing all too well that their employees have a falsified drivers license. And guess what, they vote!
The only reward I ask in the world of small business is that the government do what it gets paid to do, protect all of us as individuals and in business. Instead, the very people that work hard, pay taxes, and attempt to move up and over, are getting taxed even more to pay for the free ride the illegal citizens now have. I am amazed to know via my own conversations with these types of people that they now know all they have to do is demand free tokens from the government and eventually they will be a recipient.
I am proud to state that I have not employed anyone of an illegal status no matter how much revenue I could have either saved or created. And fortunately, I have a certain base of customers that only hire us because they refuse to hire companies with illegal helpers. Why so, because these customers are also small business owners and have suffered the loss among competition for the same subject. And you can forget about calling ICE. That's an entity at this point that is about as useless as moose tits. But heck I dunno who am I to say, I'm the little guy here.
I will finish my rant by suggesting the following only to incorporate local awareness. When you drive through your community to end the day and you notice on a roof are a group of folks installing new shingles, are they legal?
When you go home for lunch and your homeowners association has a crew maintaining the community lawncare service, are they legal? When you are traveling along the highway/s and you notice a crew working, are they legal? Why do I suggest this? Its simple, folks they are everywhere, every jobsite, every day! And these companies know who they are hiring. So the next time you call a developer/contractor/installer to come and give you a quote on a decorative stone patio and water feature, ask the representative about his/her employees. I still have faith in ethics. Although, I am getting tired of the chicken flavored Ramen noodles.
Michael T. Castle
LawnSharks of Chattanooga, Landscape Design and Installation