Council Hopes Ordinance Will Stop Exploitation of Immigrant Workers

The landscaping business is a huge employer of immigrant laborers, and also a huge practitioner of paying these workers under the table. That makes them ripe for wage theft — if you don’t keep proper records, there’s no proof of who worked when and for how long.

The Princeton Council in New Jersey has had enough of landscapers exploiting undocumented immigrants, and has introduced an ordinance to require these businesses to register with certain agencies of the local government.

Such registration requires employers to acknowledge familiarity with and possession of copies of federal and state wage laws and workers’ compensation laws. If a landscaper is found to have violated any of them, it could be barred from doing business in Princeton.

The authorities also hope to address other industries renowned for practicing wage theft — restaurants and construction.

One council member said the measure’s primary goal is to protect undocumented immigrants, who often are afraid to report wage theft for fear of being deported. Princeton has the reputation as a haven for illegal immigrants, because local police have a policy of limited cooperation with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Read the whole story in The Princeton Packet.