Sunday, September 17, 2006

Illegal immigrants and worker's comp

Liz Chandler at the Charlotte Observer published several very good articles (there is also multimedia) in today’s paper. The topic is injured illegal workers. They take very dangerous jobs, and get injured or killed at work at much higher rates than anyone else, and employers/insurers refuse to compensate them.

The worker highlighted in the study had bought a fake Social Security card, and the business accepted it, knowing full well he was illegal (thuogh the article doesn’t note this, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, passed in 1986, let businesses get away with a cursory glance at documents, which then sparked a huge market for fakes). He was in an accident on the workplace, and they were “shocked” to discover he was illegal, and so refused to pay a dime. It took a very long, drawn out legal fight to force them to accept responsibility.

So, businesses continue (yes, even in this enforcement era) to actively attract illegal workers, confident that they’ll have no rights if something goes wrong. Meanwhile, the Mexican government provides nothing, so simply returning home is not a great option.


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