Feds Targeting Undocumented Workers and Not Employers
March 12, 2019
Several decades ago, employers could hire undocumented workers with little concern. In fact, the worst consequence was the fear of eventually losing the worker to deportation, forcing a company to quickly find an adequate replacement.
However, since 1986, employers must use the I-9 form to check worker authorization. This form requires employers to make sure new hires fit into one of the following categories:
- U.S. citizen
- Lawful resident
- Alien authorized to work
Employers can use the E-Verify system to verify employment eligibility. If an employee is not eligible, the employer will be notified that the worker must report to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Employers that fail to comply with the above could face hefty fines, imprisonment, or the loss of their business license.
Yet recent controversy has occurred from data showing that employers are not being held accountable, while undocumented workers suffer the consequences.
ICE Undocumented Worker Enforcement
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been active in the workplace since 2012. Their purpose is to target employers who hire undocumented workers and penalize the workers themselves.
However, USA Today reports that the organization is solely targeting undocumented workers, while the employer is not being held accountable for disregarding state and federal laws pertaining to hiring. Data from 2018 supports this conclusion, since the majority of arrests were employees and not the employer.
Homeland Security denies this report, claiming that the increase in worker arrests is falsely inflated due to the fact that the laws surrounding the prosecution of an employer takes more time. However, opponents of the Trump administration report this noticeable shift in ICE’s focus from previous years. This is argued to result in penalizing hardworking individuals, which affects not just the worker but their family as well.
Undocumented Worker Rights
Despite the controversy, undocumented workers have undeniable rights. In fact, those rights do not delineate from any other U.S. worker and include the ability to:
- Take legal action without fear of deportation
- Collect owed wages
- Be free of discrimination due to race, color, or birthplace
Undocumented workers who are taken into custody have the right to call a family member, friend, or an attorney. No matter who that first call is made to, employees and their families should make sure to have a knowledgeable immigration lawyer in their corner.
An experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer can protect the rights of undocumented workers, while guiding them through the immigration legal process for the best possible outcome.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Assist Undocumented Workers Facing Deportation
If you have more questions about undocumented worker rights or need assistance with other immigration matters, contact an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Our lawyers are experienced with all facets of immigration law and can help workers and their families navigate the complex issues surrounding undocumented worker rights. For a free consultation call 215-496-0690 or contact us online. We are conveniently located in Philadelphia and proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, the tri-state area, New Jersey, and nationally.