As a practical issue, I’m inclined to think that a company that employs illegal immigrants (whether knowingly or otherwise) should be required to pay them the same benefits as legally present employees, including death and disability; thus, he should be granted benefits as if he were legally present (as a disincentive to illegal hiring). As a realistic estimate of lost income, though, it’s hard to see how the risk of deportation (both in general, and with the specifics of the immigration raid) isn’t relevant.
As a side note, there is a realistic chance that the immigration raid was related to the accident, either because accidents always get some official inspection, or because someone at the company figured that the fines would be cheaper than the wrongful death suit and self-reported.
A few years ago I had occasion to go to an outlying judicial office in the south of Dallas County. While waiting, I witnessed a woman discussing with the clerk about bringing an action about a relative not being paid for work performed. For the action to be started there was going to have to be proof of citizenship on the part of the complainant. The woman sought various ways around this to no avail. So Anthony’s hypothetical seems entirely realistic to me. And it seems the missing area in the immigration debate. Providing papers as resident aliens for those here illegally would remove them from surely not a slave situation but something both less and more reprehensible. Immigration status has been a problem but settled without resort to a theological certitude that now seems appropriate. This afternoon I was listening to a Saul L. who emigrated at the age of 12 to this country from East Prussia in the thirties. He was the oldest of 5 Jewish siblings and brought in under a special program ‘for the oldest.’ He was later drafted and began training with a division bound for Europe but then released as an ‘enemy alien.’ The Army then brought him back to train for the Pacific and made him a citizen.