R. Paul Faxon


Several factors have led to the current push for sanctions against employers who hire illegal aliens. One main factor is the perception that illegal aliens take jobs from United States citizens and legal aliens, work- ers and negatively affect the national economy. Obviously, any percep- tion that the jobs of United States citizens are being lost tends to create an emotionally charged environment that hampers objective decision making. Further, frustration has built up because current legal mecha- nisms seem incapable of halting illegal immigration. This frustration has increased xenophobia. Finally, proponents of sanctions identify a major inequity in a law which punishes illegal immigrants but provides no sanc- tions against their employers. The answer, some say, is to end the "pull" of illegal immigration, i.e. eliminate employment opportunities in the United States by prohibiting employers from hiring illegals. Although employer sanctions temporarily satisfy an emotional need to do something to preserve citizens' jobs from hordes of illegal aliens, they do not permanently address underlying problems. Congress must adopt a more sophisticated approach to illegal immigration and recog- nize the potential pitfalls of employer sanctions.