The Construction Industry and the Employment of Illegal Aliens
|The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which amends the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), mandates that employers only hire individuals who may legally work in the United States. This includes United States citizens and nationals as well as authorized aliens. Employers who violate the IRCA may be subject to civil and criminal penalties. An "employer" includes all individuals and entities, regardless of size, that hire, recruit, or refer for an employment fee as well as corporations (for profit and not-for-profit), partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Clearly, construction contractors fall within this definition.
Through Executive Order 12989, contractors who violate immigration law by employing illegal aliens will be barred from federal contracts. Federal contracting agencies are specifically prohibited from contracting with employers who are not in compliance with the INA. It was the Order's finding that contractors who employ illegal aliens have a less stable and dependable workforce. Thus, those contractors who do not employ illegal aliens will be awarded federal contracts so as to ensure their economical and efficient administration. An offending contractor's debarment will last for one year with successive one-year increments should the contractor remain in violation of the INA.
The construction industry can be especially susceptible to the employment of illegal aliens. The labor is often arduous or menial leaving few workers, other than illegal aliens, willing to take on the job. A marked example in the employment of illegal aliens is found in one Nevada county where seventy percent of the construction work force is made up of illegal aliens. The economic impact is substantial because generally illegal aliens will work for less pay thus driving down wages for all the workers, illegal or not.
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