New bill raises concerns for undocumented immigrants

DOVER, Del. – Senate Bill 95 is raising major concerns for immigration activists in Delaware because they say it has significant unintended consequences for undocumented immigrants.

The goal of the bill is to provide a fair bidding environment for contractors who obey the law and protects the interest of workers in the First State.

“I have people that are being taken advantage of that are being considered an independent contractor to avoid paying them and ensuring that they are insured, that if they fall off the roof and they’re hurt that they do have insurance compensation,” said Representative Ruth Briggs King.

The chairman of the Delaware Hispanic Commission says even though this bill is good as a whole he fears many undocumented workers may misinterpret the bill and believe it will force them to reveal their status.

“Our fear is the unintended consequences in the undocumented community, and that’s the concern,” said the Chairman of the Delaware Hispanic Commission, Javier Torrijos.

“We want to make sure that it doesn’t impact the Latino community,” said Torrijos.

The chairman added that because of the large percentage of Latino contractors Delaware has they should have been consulted before the bill was introduced.

“The Latino community was never at the table to discuss this Senate Bill 95,” said Torrijos, “We have one of the largest work forces in construction and maintenance, the maintenance industry.”

It is a situation Representative Ruth Briggs King says she was not aware about. She said the bill may require some changes, but it is something she believes should not affect the undocumented population in the years to come.

“There’s a disconnect and understanding between part of the people that are complaining and the actual law in Delaware, so there is a lawful means for true independent contractor to operate even though they may not be a citizen,” said King.

The bill was expected to be voted on Thursday by the Senate, but it was delayed so that members of the Latino community can voice their concerns.

Categories: Delaware