Undocumented immigrants in Chicago often find themselves in precarious work situations, where exploitation and wage theft are unfortunately common.
Workers, regardless of immigration status, have the right to receive full compensation for their efforts. Undocumented immigrants who face this issue have several avenues to explore for resolution.
1. File a wage claim
One option available to undocumented immigrants in Chicago is to file a wage claim with the Illinois Department of Labor. The IDOL enforces state labor laws, including those related to minimum wage and overtime pay. To file a wage claim, you will need to complete the necessary forms and provide any evidence you have of unpaid wages, such as pay stubs or work records. Keep in mind that immigration status is generally not a factor in pursuing wage claims.
2. Reach out to a workers’ rights organization
Several workers’ rights organizations in Chicago advocate for the rights of all workers, regardless of immigration status. These organizations can provide valuable assistance and support in addressing wage theft issues. They can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process and even negotiate with your employer on your behalf.
3. Utilize community resources
Chicago has a strong network of community organizations and resources dedicated to supporting immigrant communities. These organizations can provide information, referrals and even financial assistance in some cases. They can help you find solutions to your wage theft problem and connect you with other resources, such as food banks or housing assistance.
In 2022, foreign-born workers accounted for 18.1 percent of the U.S. labor force, and all of them deserve fair compensation. Knowing their rights is the first step in them standing up for what they deserve.