It is claimed that a day laborer in Garden Grove, California finished a day's work, was then falsely accused of robbery by the contractor for which he performed the services, and then was handed over to immigration enforcement agents after the robbery charges were dropped. Other immigrants have experienced similar treatment when they have asked for their wages.
Though one would think these workers would have certain rights when it comes to employment, immigrants are at a complete disadvantage since employers have virtually all of the cards. Laws put into effect that were designed to prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers has instead given these employers ammunition to hire the documented workers and refuse to pay them.
One California supermarket screened the immigration status of its workers online after some of its employees tried to start a labor union. Employers took similar actions against cafeteria workers at Pomona College – this after many of the workers happened to be employed at the college for years.
Hopefully, immigration reform will correct certain of these practices. In any case and whatever the circumstances, employers should not be allowed to benefit off of the labor of others that have been placed in a precarious position due to their immigration status.
If you are an immigrant facing deportation due to threats of an employer, please visit attorneys experienced in immigration laws. Unfortunately, most employers do right by their workers and will abide by all of the wage laws – regardless of immigrant status. However, the few that do not puts a black-eye on all employers.
Source: Mercury News, “Exploiting immigrants: Labor laws need to protect undocumented workers, too,” by Eunice Hyunhye Cho, April 24, 2013