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From Massachusetts this week comes the story of Jose Flores, a 37-year-old construction worker who is now in immigrant detention after he dared to ask his employer for workers’ compensation. His case may be the latest example of how the Trump Administration practices immigration retaliation.
Jose has been living in Massachusetts for almost seven years and has five children (three of whom are US-born citizens) with his longtime partner, Rosa Benitez. The couple had to leave Honduras because of gang violence there; Rosa’s father was killed by a gang after they told him to pay a fee and he didn’t.
The family has had no income for two months. Jose, the sole provider, fell off a ladder at a job site and broke his femur, leading to multiple surgeries. When Jose sought compensation with his employer, the employer arranged a meeting — and ICE was waiting there. Here’s more from WBUR in Boston:
Lawyers for Flores say it’s still unclear whether the employer — who, it turns out, had no workers’ comp coverage on the day of Flores’ accident — arranged the arrest that day.
The company, Tara Construction, has declined to comment.
Because Flores has orders to be deported back to Honduras, ICE agents had the authority to take him into custody. But the concern for Flores’ immigration attorney, Christina Corbaci, is that this could signal another new enforcement approach by ICE under President Trump.
“Before, I wouldn’t have really had a concern telling someone, ‘Yes, you should go ahead to report something like this and assert your rights,’ ” Corbaci said. “But now we have this added fear that, could an employer in this kind of case just, you know, use someone’s immigration situation against them?”
This wouldn’t be the first case of retaliation when it comes to Donald Trump and immigrants. Trump himself is a famously thin-skinned and vengeful man — and we now have multiple points of evidence that his Administration is just as retaliatory. Consider:
Also read about how easy it is for employers to rip off immigrant workers and how one Oklahoma state representative doesn’t want to pay workers’ compensation to immigrants at all.