We’ve written frequently in recent weeks about what federal immigration reform could mean for employment immigration and family immigration. But another important immigration story is of course the ongoing threat of deportation that undocumented people face.
In Minnesota and across the country, the federal Deferred Action program took away the immediate threat of this happening for many young people. But there are millions of other undocumented people who do not meet the eligibility requirements for Deferred Action and could therefore be deported at any time.
This threat of deportation makes undocumented workers vulnerable to mistreatment in the workplace. A recent Minnesota case provides a chilling example of the sexual exploitation that can occur as a result.
An undocumented woman worked on a cleaning crew in the Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka. Her employer was a firm based in another state; it was firm that operated cleaning crews in malls across the country.
The woman’s supervisor started paying excessive attention to her appearance. Then he called her into a windowless room, closed the door and sexually assaulted her. Within a few months, he had raped her at least four times.
The supervisor knew the woman was undocumented. She had shown him immigration papers. But both of them knew those papers were fraudulent and that the woman did not have a legal right to be in the U.S.
And so he threatened to report her to immigration authorities if she told anyone about the sexual assaults. In other words, he threatened her with deportation – or at least an enhanced risk of deportation – if she did not remain silent.
This case points to a larger problem. Many undocumented immigrants who work as custodian and in other low-wage industries are similarly vulnerable.
Source: “The perfect victim: Exploitation and threat of deportation,” CityPages, Olivia LaVecchia, May 29, 2013