It does not happen often and when it does happen the good guys deserve at least three cheers!
I am talking about private sector (de facto) enforcement of the immigration law, with no government involvement.
In this case the kudos go to:
- CBS News, which broke the story that a Mercedes-Benz plant was being built in Vance, Ala., by hundreds of workers on visitors' visas (which do not permit regular employment); and to
- Mercedes-Benz, whose main contractor, Eisenmann, then cancelled its contract with the unnamed subcontractor that employed these workers, who were mostly from Croatia and Slovenia, two adjacent nations formerly parts of the late Yugoslavia.
The unstated motivation for the subcontractor was to save money by paying the workers less than it would have to pay citizen and other resident workers. In the best of all possible worlds the subcontractor should be hauled into court. Maybe that will happen, maybe not.
In the meantime, our cheers should be nuanced ones. CBS gets the loudest round for exposing wrong-doing. Mercedes-Benz gets a slightly less enthusiastic response; it did what it was supposed to do, and promptly, but did so only after someone else publicized the problem.
Polite clapping is all that the general contractor Eisenmann gets, as it should have known better than to ignore and/or tolerate the practices of its own subcontractor. I hope that both CBS and ICE are sniffing around other operations that use this contractor.
As for two other institutional players, silence is appropriate. The arrival of two hundred non-English-speaking workers in rural Alabama should have been noticed by the local media, and ICE should have enough contacts with local law enforcement to have learned about these staffing patterns.
And only boos go to the State Department for issuing the visas in the first place.