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Editorial: What Deportations May Mean to Construction
From Engineering News-Record: As the Trump administration shifts the emphasis in U.S. immigration policy to a harsh, unneeded deportation drive of undocumented workers, employers have an important role in what comes next. With undocumented workers more vulnerable than ever, there can be no tolerance for employers who cheat by skimming from deserved wages. No company that cheats workers should be kept on a project, welcomed in an industry association or entitled to the respect of others.
Nor should contracts be awarded to any company that fails to protect illegal immigrants from hazards or provide them with proper safety training and equipment. Those workers also must have the right to halt unsafe work. If you see a company that doesn’t do these things, say something. Employers that exploit fearful, undocumented workers unfairly compete with compliant, well-managed contractors.
Employers continue to face the risks that confronted them under the Obama administration’s immigration policy, which focused on deportations near the border and enforcements against employers. Ever since the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Congress has shifted some responsibility for enforcement to employers. Companies were prohibited from knowingly hiring undocumented workers but also required to “examine” documentation to verify workers’ legal status. And employers describe the Immigration and Customs Enforcement I-9 audits as bureaucratic, root-canal-like procedures.