There seems to be a big policy battle brewing at the Prince William Board of County Supervisors regarding whether the county should screen those who apply for businesses licenses to see if the applicants are legally present in the United States. The general notion here is that if someone cannot be legally hired, they shouldn’t receive the blessing of the government to operate their own business.
Supervisor Marty Nohe seems to have a little problem with that. The county determined quite some time ago to simply do away with requiring business licenses from those who are reporting less than $100,000 of annual revenue, and has realized some significant savings by cutting the number of business licenses required in the county by over half. It reduces paperwork, the burden on county employees, requires fewer county employees to administer the program, and reduces the amount of regulations a business would have to comply with. These all very Republican goals, and in most cases a very laudable position to take.
We have some unique circumstances here that Supervisor Nohe doesn’t seem to fully appreciate, however. When illegal aliens are competing with local businesses, these local businesses don’t have anywhere near the level playing field where the paperwork burden and minor expense of a business license would be meaningful in any way. Self-employed illegal aliens are paying labor rates far below that which businesses trying to comply with the law must pay their legal workers. I’ve heard from numerous small business owners who have expressed deep frustration that they are being forced out of business because many of their competitors take advantage of cheap illegal alien labor that they cannot morally employ. In this environment, if paying a small fee and filling out some paperwork was the means to restoring a level playing field in the county’s commercial marketplace, I’m sure the vast majority would clamor for it.
Unfortunately, the Chamber of Commerce has come out in opposition to this policy reform. That’s not too surprising, since the Virginia Chamber of Commerce is lobbying hard at this very moment in Richmond to prevent the enactment of any restrictions that would make it more difficult or costly for Virginia businesses to unlawfully hire illegal aliens instead of American workers. Far from being the advocate for small businesses in Virginia, the Chambers of Commerce have lately come out in favor of every policy position that would benefit large employers who profit from cheap illegal labor at the expense of small businesses that want to comply with the law. Marty has deep connections with the Chamber of Commerce, so it’s little surprise that if they are against a proposal that would reduce the supply of cheap illegal alien labor in Prince William County, he’d find some argument about smaller government and less regulation that would support the Chamber of Commerce’s position.
Meanwhile, the county is granting business licenses to any applicant, regardless of the applicant’s legal status in Prince William County. If you can’t be hired because you’re an illegal alien, just get yourself a business license and be an independent subcontractor for your illegal alien brethren. You don’t have to prove legal status in order to perform a contract, and this is a fine way to evade each and every state and federal law regarding the employment of illegal aliens. The business license even makes you appear to have the endorsement of the local government, since no one in their right mind would believe that Prince William County would be handing out business licenses to illegal aliens. Right?
And what happens to American workers as illegal aliens flock to take advantage of this unbelievable means of evading federal employment laws? They take it on the nose, undercut in the labor market by illegal aliens willing to cram themselves twenty or thirty to a house and live like animals so they can send some money back to their home countries. The real local unemployment rate among tradesmen, particularly in the minority community, is shocking from what I’ve been told. As legitimate businesses that don’t rely on illegal alien labor continue to suffer, that rate of unemployment will undoubtedly rise.
Who needs an illegal alien lobby when you have business interests willing to carry their water for them?
Supervisor Nohe better start rethinking this position and get back on board supporting the policies he not only voted for, but helped to draft. Gutting the Rule of Law Resolution by ensuring illegal aliens may obtain business licenses in Prince William County is going to rightfully produce a firestorm of opposition.
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