Immigrant Workers Arrested at Waste Management Facility

In an immigration raid last week, just a few miles from our Houston office, the Houston Chronicle reported that officials arrested 16 workers at a Waste Management facility. The company stated the workers were not their employees, but third party temporary workers.

No doubt the company would make that argument since the law provides employer sanctions for hiring undocumented workers. Even in a situation where the employer claims the workers are independent contractors, there can be penalties if the employer knew the workers were undocumented.

The 16 workers are from El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico. Generally, such workers are not immediately deported (unless they waive their rights), but rather they go through deportation proceedings which can take years. Moreover, if eligible, they can be awarded a green card by the immigration judge.

The government conducts these raids from time to time and arrests individuals who appear to be foreign and undocumented. An employer is required to get I-9 forms with proof of legal status completed for all workers, including Americans, but  not for  contractors. There are serious civil and criminal penalties for violating the law.


About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, and, immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.