Illegal Irish forced out of jobs in US crackdown
Published 14/08/2011 | 05:00
UNDOCUMENTED Irish in America are being forced out of their black market jobs by tough new measures to clamp down on illegal workers, according to the Immigration Rights Commission (IRC) in San Francisco.
IRC chairman Angus Mc-Carthy said new e-verification forms had forced thousands of illegals to quit their jobs.
He said: "The e-verification number has changed the game for workers here. Under this system you have to prove you are legal to keep your job so workers are being given the option of complying, or leaving their jobs."
E-verification requires a worker to provide documents to an employer that are then compared to Homeland Security files to assess if the person is legally entitled to work in the US. Anyone whose documents do not match up is likely to be arrested and deported.
At present it is only mandatory for employers working on federal contracts to e-verify their workers.
However, a number of industries have taken it upon themselves to implement the rules, fearing that they will be penalised in the future if they are found to be employing illegals.
The Latino community has been hardest hit as the fast-food and hotel industries have been the most rigorous in implementing the system.
But Irish workers who are "caught up in the crossfire" are also struggling and there is currently a bill before the house to make e-verification mandatory for all sectors.
Sponsored by Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, Bill S1196 would force all employers to fully comply with e-verification within one year.
Felix Feuntes, of the Immigration Rights Commission in San Francisco, said the construction sector was also beginning to comply with the regulations.
Construction has long been one of the most important employers for illegal Irish in the US but it now faces a major overhaul.
Employers, fearing a backlash from future governments, are becoming increasingly likely to let go of any illegals on their books.