Illegal immigration is one of the most pressing problems facing the country. This is so despite the fact that we have ample federal laws dealing with it. But the laws 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 illegal immigrant oversaw hiring of a mostly illegal workforce. The case was certified as a class action on behalf of the legal workers and then 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.
Since then Howard has won many decisions from federal district courts and four 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 web sites across the country.
If your employer is hiring illegal immigrants, feel free to tell us what you have observed. We will follow up with you. If your employer is the subject of one of our cases, we need to hear from you.