Immigration Reform’s Effect on Employers

The Trump administration’s hard-nosed approach to immigration reform will soon affect more than just foreign workers currently living in the U.S., with employers bracing for a vastly different labor population once many of those workers are returned to their country of origin, according to a piece in today’s New York Times:

Hundreds of thousands [of immigrant workers] now stand to lose [temporary protected status] under the Trump administration, which said on Monday that roughly 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador would have to leave by September 2019 or face deportation.

When it comes to the impact such a move will have on the nation’s economy, the Times piece includes a report by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which estimates that stripping the protections from Salvadorans, Hondurans and Haitians would deprive Social Security and Medicare of about $6.9 billion in contributions over a decade, and would shrink the gross domestic product by $45.2 billion.

But even if these migrant workers remain here illegally after the deportations begin, they, like the young immigrants known as Dreamers whose status is also in jeopardy this winter, “will lose their work permits, potentially scratching more than a million people from the legal work force in a matter of months. And the American companies that employ them will be forced to look elsewhere for labor, if they can get it at all.”

According to Victor Moran, the chief executive of Total Quality, a janitorial services company in the Washington area, “If you get rid of 26 percent of my employees, I guess I’m going to have to terminate some of the contracts, unless I’m willing to break the law,” which he said he was not. The company employs 228 people with temporary protected status, or T.P.S., all but a handful from El Salvador, the Times piece notes.

Concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, New York, Virginia and Maryland, those with protected status work mainly in construction, restaurants and grocery stores, and as landscapers and day-care workers, according to the piece. But small employers are not the only ones preparing to feel the effect of Trump’s immigration reform, according to the story.

“Before Trump’s November decision [to rescind the protected status of such workers], the Walt Disney Co. announced that it, too, supported an extension: It said Disney World employed more than 500 protected Haitians.”

But just as with seemingly everything else this president says and does, things can change quickly. To wit, just as this post was being completed, a new New York Times headline appeared: Trump Appears to Endorse Path to Citizenship for Millions of Immigrants.

Stay tuned…

Michael J. O'Brienhttp://
Michael J. O’Brien is former web editor with Human Resource Executive®.