With the clamp down on illegal aliens, many industries are struggling to find enough workers to fill certain positions. One of those is the construction industry. Construction companies have traditionally used immigrant workers for several reasons. For one, they can get away with paying them a lot less than an American would expect for the same job. Another reason is that undocumented aliens will often do the most dirty, dangerous jobs that American workers might refuse.
Since the clamp down on hiring immigrants, many businesses have searched for ways to get their projects completed and stay within their budgets, but have seemingly failed. Then just recently, it was made public that five North Texas construction executives were charged with felonies relating to their part in trying to side-step immigration laws.
The hiring of these illegals was made possible by a labor staffing company. The undocumented aliens were processed through Take Charge Staffing and then sent to work at several construction outfits. One of these is based in Kennedale, Texas.
Owners and principals at Speed Fab-Crete Corp, Carl Eugene Hall, David Leon Bloxom and Ronald Alan Hamm were charged along with several others. The company had over 40 undocumented workers on its payroll that had been hired through the staffing agency.
How Were They Caught?
The scheme had been working quite well until an ICE and HIS audit of the I-9 Employer Review and Verification forms at Speed Fab-Crete. During the audit, ICE and HIS officials began to suspect that the concrete company was using undocumented workers. After a thorough investigation, the truth came out. To date, 39 of these immigrants have been terminated. A handful of execs at Speed Fab-Crete and Take Charge have been charged with conspiracy to unlawfully harbor illegal aliens. They face hefty fines up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison.
Several company owners, Bloxom, Hamm and James, were able to reach a plea agreement. They may face six months in jail with a year of supervised release. In addition, they could pay fines of $3,000 per undocumented worker.
Why Use Contractors?
Many companies these days are using contractor-type employees. They don’t have to pay for insurance, vacations and such. They also use contractors because these workers don’t have to supply the same information as regular employment would require. For instance, when applying for a standard 9 to 5 job, the applicant must prove citizenship, show their driver’s license and social security card. It’s difficult to skate past the hiring requirements with regular jobs. But with contractor positions, most of this information can be side-stepped. There’s no background or credit check.
Many Industries Worried About Future
As the immigration laws continue to scrutinize every worker, company owners must be vigilant. It’s imperative to avoid hiring undocumented aliens. According to the National Law Review, ICE audits of I-9 forms are on the rise.
Business owners across the nation, say that heading into 2020, they have two big concerns. The first is being able to find qualified workers. The second is the increase cost of labor.