Group calls for immigration reform for construction workers - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Group calls for immigration reform for construction workers

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DALLAS -

Most Americans, nearly 53 percent favor a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, according to the findings of a Bloomberg national poll.

Groups around the country are calling for comprehensive immigration reform sooner rather than later.

They argue it is good for businesses in Texas, especially the construction business.

"Half of Texas construction workers reported being undocumented," said Juan Cardoza-Oquendo of the Workers Defense Project.

The group held a news conference in Dallas sharing the findings of a U.T. Austin study called "Build a Better Texas".

The research of 1200 construction workers at construction sites in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and El Paso found these undocumented workers were more likely not to be covered by workmen's compensation; have no safety training and at times are victims of payroll fraud ; not paid after working .

The Workers Defense Project says undocumented workers need protection under comprehensive immigration reform.

"There are millions of people in our country without documentation without protection from unscrupulous people that want to exploit," said Father Ernest Mcafee of the Workers Defense Project.

A.J. Irwin is a former Homeland Security Director and Immigration agent.

Irwin just recently worked on a few immigration cases out of state. He says many construction companies who decided to become completely compliant with current law find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

"The companies that are trying to do the right thing are being penalized in the competitive workplace, they can't compete," said Irwin.

Irwin agrees there must be reform to make the ground level for companies and employees.

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