President Obama's Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is supposed to represent American workers. What you need to know is that this longtime open-borders sympathizer has always had a rather radical definition of "American." At a Latino voter registration project conference in Los Angeles many years ago, Solis asserted to thunderous applause, "We are all Americans, whether you are legalized or not."
That's right. The woman in charge of enforcing our employment laws doesn't give a hoot about our immigration laws -- or about the fundamental distinction between those who followed the rules in pursuit of the American dream and those who didn't.
While in Congress, she opposed strengthening the border fence, supported expansion of illegal alien benefits (including driver's licenses and in-state tuition discounts), embraced sanctuary cities that refused to cooperate with federal homeland security officials to enforce immigration laws, and aggressively championed a mass amnesty. Solis was steeped in the pro-illegal alien worker organizing movement in Southern California and was buoyed by amnesty-supporting Big Labor groups led by the Service Employees International Union. She has now caused a Capitol Hill firestorm over her new taxpayer-funded advertising and outreach campaign to illegal aliens regarding fair wages:
"I'm here to tell you that your president, your secretary of labor and this department will not allow anyone to be denied his or her rightful pay -- especially when so many in our nation are working long, hard and often dangerous hours," Solis says in the video pitch. "We can help, and we will help. If you work in this country, you are protected by our laws. And you can count on the U.S. Department of Labor to see to it that those protections work for you."
To be sure, no one should be scammed out of "fair wages." Employers that hire and exploit illegal immigrant workers deserve full sanctions and punishment. But it's the timing, tone-deafness and underlying blanket amnesty agenda of Solis' illegal alien outreach that has so many American workers and their representatives on Capitol Hill rightly upset.
With double-digit unemployment and a growing nationwide revolt over Washington's border security failures, why has Solis chosen now to hire 250 new government field investigators to bolster her illegal alien workers' rights campaign? (Hint: Leftists unhappy with Obama's lack of progress on "comprehensive immigration reform" need appeasing. This is a quick bone to distract them.)
Unfortunately, the federal government is not alone in lavishing attention and resources on workers who shouldn't be here in the first place. As of 2008, California, Florida, Nevada, New York, Texas and Utah all expressly included illegal aliens in their state workers' compensation plans -- and more than a dozen other states implicitly cover them.
Solis' public service announcement comes on the heels of little-noticed but far more troubling comments encouraging illegal alien workers in the Gulf Coast. Earlier this month, in the aftermath of the BP oil spill, according to Spanish language publication El Diario La Prensa, Solis signaled that her department was going out of its way to shield illegal immigrant laborers involved in cleanup efforts. "My purpose is to assist the workers with respect to safety and protection," she said. "We're protecting all workers regardless of migration status because that's the federal law." She told reporters that her department was in talks with local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials who had visited coastal worksites to try to verify that workers were legal.
No word yet on whether she gave ICE her "we are all Americans, whether you are legalized or not" lecture. But it's a safe bet.