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Construction Contractors May Feel Pressure of Immigration Law Enforcement

News | March 1, 2017

Kutak Rock attorney Clete Samson says expanded U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) scrutiny of construction contractors could force changes in the industry, especially with regard to hiring, labor supply and workforce management practices.

His comments appear in a February 28, 2017 article on the Construction Dive daily newsletter titled "How Trump's immigration crackdown could impact construction." Samson says the construction industry has always made heavy use of unauthorized workers; and now the expanded number of ICE employees will "need something to do. They’re going to be accountable for arrests, deportation and removals."

Samson emphasizes that when ICE focuses on employers, it’s most often in the form of a paperwork check to ensure that employers are collecting required employee documents like social security cards, birth certificates or other proof of work authorization. Then the documents are checked to make sure they are legitimate. Often, however, employers who have been operating in a world where undocumented labor is commonplace will continue to risk civil penalties, both out of habit or as a cost of doing business. According to Samson, employers say to themselves, "'If I don’t employ these individuals, my competition down the street will.'"

To read the entire article (authored by Kim Slowey), please click here.

Samson's work at Kutak Rock includes immigration law, worksite compliance, employment law, and litigation. He previously served for seven years as a federal trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.