Lawmakers demand answers on illegal immigrant child labor, as universities perpetuate illegal workforce system
Reps. Virginia Foxx and Kevin Kiley sent a letter to Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su called on the Department of Labor to crack down on illegal child labor.
Several universities have introduced work programs and financial aid to illegal immigrants, incentivizing and perpetuating a flawed system.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee is demanding answers from the Biden administration on child labor among illegal immigrants.
In a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor, Julie Su, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Kiley (R-CA) called on the Department to take action to stop migrants from being exploited for illegal child labor.
Lawmakers stated that fraudulent work documents are becoming rampant, allowing minors to work in hazardous conditions prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA). According to the letter, criminal trafficking networks are often the ones providing the documents, which can pass the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify process.
The committee also criticized the Department of Labor (DOL) for its inaction, refusing to acknowledge the problem and shifting the blame to Congress. They called for solutions that would prevent the problem, such as better security along the border.
Meanwhile, university policies have played a significant role in incentivizing illegal immigration and allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country.
In March, Fordham University expanded a program to offer undocumented high schoolers internship programs. Upon successful completion, students receive an application waiver and tuition assistance opportunities.
In April, Boston announced a financial expansion of the Tuition-Free Community College Plan. It will cover up to three years of college tuition for undocumented students. University of California issued a statement in May indicating that the school system will work to circumvent employment restrictions for hiring undocumented students.
Minnesota passed a law in May promising to provide free in-state tuition and financial aid at colleges in the Minnesota State and University of Minnesota system. The program costs taxpayers upfront approximately $117 million, with an additional $50 million per year.
Washington State University (WSU) worked with The Crimson Group to hand out relief packages to undocumented migrant students under the CARES Act. The California Community Colleges sued Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for the ability to give Covid bailout money to illegal immigrant students.
Foxx and Kiley highlighted the need for the Department of Labor to provide clear guidelines to employers on which documents can be safely relied upon to verify the age of prospective workers while ensuring compliance with the FLSA. Additionally, they called for stronger coordination between federal agencies to combat this systemic issue.
Campus Reform contacted the House Education and Workforce Committee for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.