Illegal immigration is one of the most pressing problems facing the country. Despite the fact that we have ample federal laws dealing with it, they are not enforced as they should be. High levels of illegal immigration lower the cost of unskilled labor, benefiting employers. 

Howard Foster filed the first wage depression RICO class action against Zirkle Fruit Company of Selah, Washington in 2000. Long-time employees at that company worked at stagnant wages while a former undocumented worker oversaw hiring of a mostly illegal workforce. The case was certified as a class action lawsuit on behalf of the legal workers. It was settled on the eve of trial. Legal workers received backpay for each hour employed, the first such settlement on behalf of the victims of illegal immigration in American history. 

Foster PC has since won many decisions from federal district courts and appellate circuits, allowing these cases to proceed under RICO and be certified as class actions. In 2006, Howard argued the Mohawk Industries case in the U.S. Supreme Court and persuaded the Justices not to read the concept of a group enterprise out of RICO, which the Company’s lawyers had sought. The case has now settled for $18 million. These class actions have been featured in the Wall Street Journal (which has run two editorials attacking them as a threat to business), The New York Times, the National Law Journal, CNN, Lou Dobbs, and many local newspapers and websites across the country. 

If your employer is hiring undocumented workers or the subject of one of our cases, contact us and share what you have observed.