Illegal immigrants don’t hold the most dangerous jobs in America. That kind of work pays a decent wage for the risk to life and limb, and undocumented workers are barred from those jobs.
Yet there is plenty of hazard, risk and occupational injury for the uncounted millions of illegal immigrants doing the “merely dangerous” work no one else wants – without a pay premium from employers who take advantage of that labor pool, a Cornell University – Penn State University study reveals.
“The Occupational Cost of Being Illegal in the United States: Legal Status, Job Hazards and Compensating Differentials,” published in the journal, International Migration Review, focused on undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central American countries.
Undocumented workers are not engaged in the most dangerous occupations such as logging or mining – jobs with the most fatalities according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regulatory oversight of extremely hazardous workplaces keeps undocumented workers away from risky-but-remunerative jobs. Instead they are shuffled to marginal, less desirable and dangerous jobs, where language barriers and lack of training create additional obstacles. For instance, agricultural workers can be maimed in farm equipment and day-labor construction workers fall from heights every day, the study suggests.
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