But they've fostered an unhealthy disrespect for the rule of law. Consider Victor Zavala Jr., one of the Wal-Mart detainees. He told The New York Times his family is "not happy" at the prospect of being deported after he paid a "coyote" $2,000 to smuggle them into the United States.
In essence, Zavala bet $2,000 that the federal government wouldn't enforce federal law. His bad luck: He lost.
A Wal-Mart spokesman said of the raids: "We were very surprised. We had no idea they were coming." Wal-Mart is investigating.
While the spokesman said he was personally "unaware" of this, The New York Times reported that immigration officials raided Wal-Mart in 1998 and 2001.
This latest foray suggests that somebody -- a Wal-Mart executive or contractor -- looked at the fines of up to $10,000 per illegal worker, considered the possibility of being prosecuted for conspiracy to break the law, and figured it was a safe bet to break the law anyway.