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Florida Legislator Tries to Stop Deportation of Injured Immigrant Workers

February 14, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—A Florida state legislator has introduced a bill that would repeal a provision in a 2003 workers’ compensation law that makes it a crime to use false identification when filing a claim. The measure would limit fraud charges to people who lie about their injuries or their eligibility for benefits. State Sen. Gary Farmer (D-Fort Lauderdale) proposed it after more than 130 undocumented immigrants injured on the job were hit with felony fraud charges when their employers’ insurance companies reported them to law enforcement for using fake ID when seeking medical care—which often got them denied workers’ comp benefits. That practice “has sent a signal throughout the workforce that if you’re injured, don’t report it, don’t tell your boss because you know that in order to keep from paying benefits, they’re going to call immigration on you,” Rich Templin of the Florida AFL-CIO told NPR. Some of the injured workers were deported without getting medical treatment. “These folks were doing their job, got hurt while they were doing their job, and the separate issue of immigration status shouldn’t be used to take away the benefits that they’re entitled to,” Farmer told NPR. Read more

February 14, 2018

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