Table: Two Legal Fronts

THE FEDS

After years of ineffective workplace raids and civil sanctions against employers that hire illegal immigrants, Washington is criminally charging companies that allegedly help smuggle in undocumented workers. The Justice Dept.'s December indictment of Tyson Foods is the largest example yet of this new enforcement priority.

PRIVATE SECTOR

Plaintiff lawyers are brandishing federal racketeering laws--expanded in 1996 to encompass the hiring of illegal aliens--to sue Tyson and other companies in the meat, fruit-packing, and janitorial industries. They allege that hiring illegals unfairly drives down the wages of legal employees. The potential payoff: triple damages for legal workers.

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