Two wrongs don't equal a jackpot

A workplace accident in Marlborough, Massachusetts has brought to light yet another problem caused by illegal aliens.

Valdecir Rodrigues, a 38-year-old Brazilian who came here on a tourist visa back in early 2003, but never bothered to leave. Instead, he got a job (illegally), then he and his family set up house, intending to stay. He had a variety of jobs, but that all came to an end Monday when he was stacking slabs of granite in a warehouse. The stack collapsed on him, killing him.

Now comes the complications. For one, he’s being buried back in Brazil. His widow would like to go with him, but she fears (and rightfully so) that she wouldn’t be allowed back into the country. (Apparently none of the children were born here, depriving her of the all-important “anchor baby,” the one who has citizenship.) For another, she has filed for a workman’s compensation claim.

Now, I am in no way happy that Mr. Rodrigues died. In fact, I’d like to see OSHA go in there and investigate thoroughly, and quite possibly levy a very hefty fine on his employer. Further, I’d like to see ICE and other officials see just how many other illegal aliens they are employing, and if justified impose more fines and maybe even a jail sentence.

But the worker’s comp claim should be denied.

Mr. Rodrigues was working illegally. When you step outside the law, you deny yourself access to certain legal protections and legal benefits. He made his choice, and as tragic and heartless as it may sound, his family has to live with the consequences of his decision.

And the Massachusetts law to the contrary ought to be struck down. Workers’ comp funds are paid by employers, as a payroll tax. Illegal aliens either don’t pay taxes entirely, or do so under a fraudulent identity. Either way, they have actively sought to avoid that as part and parcel of being a legal worker. To pay them despite this is to rob those who are working legally, paying their taxes, and following the rules.

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  1. steve sturm October 5, 2005
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