After Sandy, immigrant groups keeping an eye out for abuse of laborers

Nearly a month after superstorm Sandy, immigrant labor rights advocacy groups say they’re unaware of any cases of day laborers being denied payment for work related to recovery efforts. “I’m not hearing anything right now that they’re not getting paid,” said Stuart Sydenstricker of Wind of the Spirit, an immigrant resource center in Morristown. “But it could take a few more weeks to come out.” Sydenstricker and Diana Mejia, also of Wind of the Spirit, document incidents of wage theft or injuries among immigrant laborers — many of whom speak little or no English — that otherwise might go unreported. Part of the problem with officially tracking such incidents is that the state does not and cannot make inquiries at work sites about workers’ immigration status. Consequently, it’s not possible to say whether undocumented laborers are performing work, according to Department of Labor spokesman Brian T. Murray. If a worker complained of being ripped off for wages by a contractor...

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