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Federal, state immigration policies affecting employers who hire undocumented workers

We've been talking for weeks on this blog about the effects of new federal and state immigration policy on immigrants, particularly with regard to fears of deportation spurred by stricter enforcement of federal immigration law. Among the effects of these new policies is that more employers in certain industries are reporting worker shortfalls, largely driven by fears of deportation. 

Other states, such as Florida, Georgia and California, have felt the effects of the change in federal immigration policy, but Texas has arguably been affected to a greater extent due to the recent passage of its own "sanctuary city" ban. The construction industry in Texas has been hit particularly hard since so much of the workforce in that industry consists of undocumented immigrants.

Although employers are lamenting the loss of undocumented workers because of the challenges in finding replacements, one unfortunate reality is that undocumented workers are often not treated fairly by their employers. Because of their vulnerability, undocumented workers are often exploited by unscrupulous employers.

Violations of labor and employment law are not uncommon among employers who hire undocumented workers. Too often, employers exploit workers by taking advantage of their fear of involvement with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Even employers who generally treat their workers fairly can fall into an exploitive mentality sometimes.

The fact, though, is that undocumented workers are not bereft of rights in the workplace. In our next post, we'll look briefly at some of the basic rights undocumented workers have in the workplace, and how an experienced immigration law attorney can help those whose rights have been violated.

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