NPR Story
7:22 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Study Shows Half Of All Construction Workers May Be Undocumented

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:23 pm

As many as half of Texas construction workers could be undocumented immigrants, according to a study released today.

In the study, the Workers Defense Project examined building permits in five big markets across the state, including Austin. They visited random residential and commercial building projects to survey 1,200 construction workers during lunch breaks or after their shifts.

Almost half the workers admitted to being undocumented.

Cristina Tzintzún with the Workers Defense Project says undocumented workers are at a disadvantage, especially if their employers are aware of their immigration status.

“When employers are able to threaten immigration enforcement against workers, workers are actually afraid oftentimes to step forward when there are unsafe working conditions and when they’re not being paid right for their work,” Tzintzún said.

She says the report highlights the importance of Congress coming to an agreement on changes to immigration policy, especially here in Texas.

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