J & J Industrial Supply Inc., pled guilty last week to knowingly and intentionally employing ten undocumented immigrants in violation of federal immigration law since 2008, according to stltoday.com. This crime carries with it the prospect of a fine and prison time. The report notes that the fine has already been set as one year’s wages for the unauthorized immigrant workers ($150,000) a vehicle that the company used to transport the undocumented workers was impounded.
Authorities caught wind of the company’s illegal employment activity when the owner of the company was pulled over in a routine traffic stop. Apparently, the owner was returning from the Mexican consulate in Kansas City with a number of the undocumented workers. They went to the Mexican consulate to secure identification documents for the workers in case they had a run-in with police. On the way back, the owner was stopped for speeding and the five undocumented immigrant workers were discovered.
Employing undocumented immigrants workers is one of the hottest immigration-related topics politically right now. Numerous states, including Missouri, have passed laws that punish employers more harshly than the federal law requires. Missouri’s law allows the state to cancel the contracts it has with companies that employ undocumented immigrants. Additionally, the state can revoke the charters of companies that are repeatedly found to be employing undocumented immigrants. The Supreme Court recently upheld this sort of employment law in Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Whiting.