• September 23, 2014

Pedestrian_border_crossing_sign_Tijuana_MexicoImmigration policy is so messed up that a Minnesota landscaping business appears to have found it a relative bargain to devise a fairly complicated arrangement of illegal worker trafficking rather than simply hiring legal workers for a living wage.

L&K Landscaping of St. Michael, Minnesota is alleged to have instructed an illegal Mexican immigrant residing in Minnesota to go back to Mexico and get a visa, after which, L&K said it would hire him. L&K agreed to lend the worker, Mr. Campis Abarca, money to tide over his family during his trip to/from Mexico. When the visa was denied (based on Mr. Campis Abarca’s previous illegal entry into the U.S.), L&K is alleged to have insisted that Campis Abarca return to work, anyhow, because he had to repay the debt. L&K also told Campis Abarca that L&K would pay for Campis Abarca’s illegal entry into the United States and arrange for a legal visa the following year. L&K paid for a “coyote” to smuggle Campis Abarca into the United States. Then L&K worked Campis Abarca for a year, charging him rent for illegal and substandard housing, locking him and his family into a life of cycling debt and peonage.

Eventually, Campis Abarca sued L&K in U.S. federal court (District of Minnesota), only to have his entire case thrown out as past applicable statutes of limitation last week.

My point in this post is not about the decision to throw Mr. Campis Abarca’s case out (which seems harsh to me but consistent with applicable law). My point is that our labor market and immigration policy has been so distorted in this country for so long that a Minnesota employer apparently decided that it was more economical to engage in this convoluted multinational exploitative human-trafficking than to simply hire employees lawfully for a living wage. I understand that the poverty South of the U.S. border enables U.S. employers to exploit cheap illegal labor. But, from my uninformed perspective, it comes as a surprise that U.S. employers can set up such a system of illegal trafficking, substandard housing, and can bank-roll entire families (temporarily) in order to lock these unfortunate people into to unlawful and inhumane living and working conditions so the employers can have good and cheap manual labor. But sadly, this appears to be the case.


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