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Myths About Immigrant Workers Rights

Too often, employers will buy into myths propagated about immigrant workers rights in order to have an excuse to either refuse to hire immigrants or to subtly mistreat immigrant workers they do hire. However, many fall into line with such behavior simply because they are uneducated on the actual requirements of the law. If employers are better aware of the truth in certain issues surrounding immigrant workers, they are more likely to refrain from acts of employment discrimination.

“Immigrants Steal U.S. Jobs”

Perhaps the most pernicious myth surrounding immigrant workers rights is that they somehow “steal jobs” that unemployed U.S. citizens could be doing. There is simply no correlation, as a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report found in 2009, between immigration and unemployment. Different people have different skill sets and education. Jobs taken by immigrant workers may require education that many U.S. workers lack, especially in cutting edge fields like robotics or nanotechnology, where skills to perform such jobs simply lie more often with foreign workers.

It is also worth noting that in many situations, deporting immigrants means not only deporting workers but also potentially deporting entrepreneurs and business owners. This may lead to a loss of jobs in itself. As the Fiscal Policy Institute noted in 2007, immigrant-owned businesses were employing nearly 5 million people, with receipts around approximately $775 billion. The numbers are almost certainly higher today. Deporting these people would make many of the jobs, if not all of them, at these businesses implode.

“They’re Here Illegally Anyway”

The other common myth seen among employers is that even if someone presents valid paperwork like an I-9 or employment authorization, they have a better than average chance of being undocumented and having stolen someone’s identity to forge the papers. This is simply inaccurate. The immigrant population of the United States as of 2016 was approximately 43.7 million people, while the undocumented population in total is 11 million. Immigrants with the proper documentation must be allowed to apply and to work if they fit the qualifications an employer seeks.

National origin is one of the classifications listed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on which it is forbidden to discriminate. What many do not realize is that these types of behavior are discriminatory, because they are based on the employer’s perception of stereotypes. It can be a delicate balance. One may not hire undocumented immigrants, but one is forbidden to ask for documentation beyond the standard that one might expect from anyone. At the same time, however, everyone deserves the right to work, or at least to apply.

Call An Experienced Attorney

If you have been discriminated against due to your national origin (or perceived national origin), contacting an attorney is a good first step in determining how best to proceed. Attorney A. Christopher Potts has experience with workplace discrimination cases and will work hard to try and get a fair outcome for all involved. Contact Hitchcock & Potts today to set up an appointment.

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