Chamber of Commerce Shows True, Hypocritical Face

by Mark Wilson

You’d think that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the lobbying organization that represents the interests of the nation’s largest corporations (and not the interests, by the way, of small businesses) — would be in favor of the Arizona law that imposed state sanctions on employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants.

Curiously, you’d be wrong. In Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued that federal law should preempt Arizona’s law. The court agreed, but that’s not the most interesting part.

A Chamber of Commerce True Believer might ask, “Why would the Chamber be on the side of less restriction on employing illegal immigrants? Doesn’t it want American jobs to be reserved for Americans?”

Turns out the answer is “absolutely not.” It’s to the advantage of large corporations for there to be lax laws regarding the employment of illegal immigrants. That way, large, multibillion-dollar corporations — which are, after all, the Chamber’s constituency — can get incredibly cheap immigrant labor, reducing their overhead and boosting their profits. Immigrants can be paid below minimum wage (because what are they going to do? Complain to a labor board?) and intimidated into not joining unions (which is actually explicitly illegal).

So, actually, the Chamber’s position on this issue makes sense.