U.S. employers are required to pay a legal wage to unskilled immigrants doing agricultural work. If you are a U.S.-based employer who needs help understanding or achieving compliance with immigration laws – or if you’re being cited for a violation – obtain the legal help you need by contacting an experienced Dublin immigration attorney as quickly as possible.
Spanish-speaking Immigrants and Agriculture
If there is one common language across the food industry in America, from the field hands to the dishwashers, that language is not English. Spanish-speaking immigrants from Mexico and Central America are essential to U.S. agriculture. They work in the fields and the slaughterhouses, milk the cows and make the cheeses, and prepare and serve the food. Agricultural and food service workers also comprise the overwhelming majority of the people rounded up and deported by the U.S. government. Therefore, compliance with laws is vital for U.S.-based employers to understand.
Why are so many here without documentation? The reason is simple. Documented workers must be paid an established wage based on the prevailing wages in the industry and region. Undocumented workers can be paid less, although the practice is illegal. For example, the minimum wage in Wisconsin in 2015 for an agricultural worker holding an H-2A visa is $11.56 an hour. But a 2013 report found many agricultural workers in Wisconsin were making from $8.25 to $9.75 per hour.
About half of Wisconsin’s dairy workforce is undocumented. The workers are being paid less than what they would earn if they carried documentation. Undocumented workers cannot organize, do not complain, and they can simply be terminated if they become injured on the job.
Noncompliance with Laws
The agriculture and food industries in the United States rely on immigrant workers and literally could not function without them. It is a violation of federal law to hire undocumented workers. Employers who do not comply with the law may be subject to exorbitant civil fines and in some cases criminal penalties.
Need Compliance Help?
If you are a U.S. employer of international workers, obtain the expert legal advice and services of a skilled Dublin immigration attorney from the law offices of Sam Shihab & Associates.
Contact us today!