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Work-related injuries cause problems for undocumented immigrants

In North Carolina and beyond, many workers are undocumented immigrants. A recent article pointed out problems that often arise for these individuals when they suffer work-related injuries. Although those who come to the United States without the paperwork needed to make them eligible for employment are being hired, they are not being given the same benefits as other employees when they are injured on the job. 

One man recently gave testimony describing his inability to receive proper medical care or undergo physical therapy for a broken leg he suffered on the job because the insurance company would not allow him to receive full compensation benefits due to his undocumented status. Activists who recently spoke before a human rights commission accused the federal government of allowing the nation's economy to be boosted from the productivity of  undocumented workers' labor, while failing to protect their right to receive compensation benefits when the need arises. Advocates argued that a failed system has caused further trauma to those who are already harmed by the physical injuries they have suffered in the workplace.

Some have stated that immigrant workers often perform high-risk and dangerous jobs while being denied basic protections offered to workers with legal statuses. A director with the National Employment Law Project recently wrote that injured immigrant workers often fear deportation and, therefore, choose to remain silent rather than reporting their injuries or grievances. An ACLU representative stated that some employers are profiting by exploiting immigrant workers.

North Carolina immigrant workers who are facing complex issues regarding work-related injuries or who have other grievances related to compensation claims would be wise to seek the advice of legal professionals experienced in immigration and naturalization law. Such consultations may provide a means for discerning available options, as well as help workers to understand their rights under American law. An attorney can also offer advice about claiming benefits after job-related accidents.

Source:, "Immigrant Workers Are Being Deported for Getting Injured on the Job", Michelle Chen, March 17, 2015

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