Debra J. Saunders

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.

Debra J. Saunders

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