According to the Hofstra University Labor Review, there has been an increase in the number of foreign-born workers in the U.S. in the last twenty years. Since 1990, foreign-born workers have increased in the labor force by 9.4 %. There is also a trend of foreign-born workers taking higher risk construction jobs. The number of fatalities among immigrant workers has risen from 635 in 1992 to 1,046 in 2007. Many of these immigrant workers are afraid to report injuries for fear of either losing their job or being deported by the U.S. Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). A few years ago, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created a program to encourage illegal workers to report injuries without the fear of losing a job or being deported. Unfortunately, the OSHA was being used by ICE agents as a decoy in order to arrest and deport undocumented workers. In 2005, a sting operation was set up at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina by ICE agents in order to arrest and deport undocumented construction workers under the disguise of an OSHA outreach session. The sting operation was a success for ICE, as 48 illegal immigrant workers were arrested and deported. Even though the undocumented workers were deported, the construction contractors were not penalized for their illegal conduct. The sting operation was unanimously condemned by labor and immigration rights officials and many took the set up as an example of the lack of concern the Bush administration has for worker safety.
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