Jan 22, 2018
Worker complaints over immigration-related threats surged last year in California. When the workers raise issues over working conditions or unpaid wages, bosses often threaten to report workers to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In one case, reported by the Los Angeles Times, a worker was promised $150 at the end of each day to tile a bathroom and stucco the walls of a home in Arcadia, California. After six days with no pay, the worker finally confronted his boss. Instead of paying the worker’s wages, the boss first called him a “wetback,” and then said: “Not only am I [an ex]-sheriff, my family are all in the police department.... I will handcuff you and take you into custody and wait for ICE to come take you in for felony threats.”
Such threats against and outright wage theft from immigrant workers have been happening for a long time. But, during the last year, emboldened by the Federal government’s daily declarations against immigrant workers and ICE raids of work places, the bosses have increased such threats and theft. Many of them are getting away with it.