A construction site is an inherently dangerous place to be, but undocumented immigrant laborers are being injured and killed at a disproportionate rate compared to their native-born co-workers, according to a recent analysis by The New York Times. Moreover, undocumented immigrant laborer fatalities are far outpacing the rate of new construction, The Times reports. Philadelphia immigration lawyers say that these troubling statistics – although unique to New York City – are cause for alarm for undocumented immigrant laborers across the country.
From 2010 to 2014, construction-related fatalities in New York averaged 5.5 per year. However, from July 2014 to July 2015, ten laborers were fatally injured on the job. Similarly, The New York Times reports that the New York City Building Department records show a spike in construction-related injuries, with non-fatal accidents jumping 52% from July 2014 to July 2015 and injuries rising 53% over the same time period. There was no corresponding rise in permits for construction work, however. To the contrary, permits for new construction rose 11% while permits for renovation to existing structures increased by only six percent.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that nearly half of all foreign-born laborers in 2015 are of Hispanic decent, while Asian-born workers represent 24.1 percent of the domestic workforce. Foreign-born workers are less likely to receive employment in an office- or sales-based position, and are more likely to work instead in the service or manual labor industry. Specifically, the BLS reports that 13.7% of undocumented immigrant laborers will obtain work in construction as compared to 8.4% of native-born workers.
As construction site managers increasingly rely on undocumented immigrant laborers to complete projects, they must provide them with the same level of training and safety as they provide to documented American workers. This oftentimes will require employers to communicate instructions and safety protocols to undocumented immigrant laborers in their native language. Moreover, employers must take steps to ensure the veracity of training certification cards presented by all workers at a construction site. Failure to do so can give rise to fines, penalties and legal action.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, PC: Advocates for Undocumented Immigrants
Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, PC represent undocumented immigrant laborers who have been injured while working at construction sites throughout the area. If you or a loved one is in need of legal representation to handle an immigration matter, call 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.