It is time to protect undocumented workers

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It is time to protect undocumented workers

People suspected to have immigrated illegally are gathered by the Arizona border.

People suspected to have immigrated illegally are gathered by the Arizona border.

Federal Trump

People suspected to have immigrated illegally are gathered by the Arizona border.

Federal Trump

Federal Trump

People suspected to have immigrated illegally are gathered by the Arizona border.

Taylor English, Copy Editor

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Illegal immigration has been a longstanding controversial issue.The ways undocumented workers suffer have not been prevalent enough in this ongoing debate. 

After entering the states, these workers find jobs in a variety of sectors, including agricultural and beauty industries. The risk of deportation leaves these people in various states, and this vulnerability causes the undocumented work force to often end up victims of a variety of crimes. 

This group of people are not citizens of the United States, and they have committed a crime themselves by immigrating illegally; however, refusing them protection without risk of deportation is inhumane. The crime of illegal immigration is not worse than the crimes of sexual assault, human trafficking and other injustices. Citizen or not, everyone deserves protection from these crimes.

Research has been done over the increased vulnerability of undocumented workers. In 2017, 110 cases were labeled as modern slavery; 78 percent  of these cases consisted of victims who were silenced with threats of deportation and 66 percent of these individuals experienced sexual or physical abuse. The victims were unable to seek help due to these threats.

One job sector that experiences this is massage parlors, and migrant women who work in them.“Similar to domestic work trafficking victims, trafficking victims from massage parlours often work excessive hours and are threatened with arrest or deportation if they try to leave.” Some of these women are also forced into sex work and struggle to find a way out.

As immigration policies grow stricter, victims fear seeking help. A 2017 study showed “nearly 70 percent of service providers, for example, believe that survivors will remain with their traffickers longer given the recent political shift, with survivors highlighting their concerns that they will not be believed and then will be arrested, detained, or deported.”

For senior Margaret Huang, this bold shift is in the wrong direction. “The current system needs to be altered in a way that protects undocumented workers from human trafficking by allowing them to seek help without getting deported,” she said. 

The undocumented workforce in America has continued to provide political controversy. These people may have committed a crime, but they suffer through situations no human should have to endeavor. Protecting these victims from abuse, unfair conditions and intimidation should be a priority.