Has anyone Gone through the leagal process of getting a"foreign" employee leagalized?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Evan528, Sep 15, 2002.

  1. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,144

    I am in a bit of a jam here and hoping someone here can clue me in a little. My Head full time employee Is of mexican decent. For the year he has been working for me he has sworn he has a work visa to be here and even gives a Soc. sec. #
    Come to find out this week hes has no visa just like 95% of the mexicans here and was using a false social security number. He has been extremly repsonsible over the past year and has been my best employee yet. Next year My plan was to have him driving and running a crew for me. Well...to get a Pennsylvania drivers license he must have a valid Visa of course. It has been recomended to me that I hire a lawyer who specializes in this type of work to help him get the nessesary papers. How much can I expect to spend using a private attorny? ( not a big firm like "amigos")
    If after getting the proper visa can he then go ahead and get a PA license without much trouble? Any help you can offer would be much appreciated. He has been a exellent employee and I would Like to do what I can for him (within reason!). :dizzy:
  2. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372


    I hate to lay this on you, but you're not in a bit of a jam, you're in a BIG jam. The fact of the matter is that INS will NEVER work with him because he's already here ilegally and to issue him a visa would be tantamount to giving all undocumented workers permission to come here at will. INS is one of the most obstinant of all the government bureaus to work with. They issue visas and green cards based on a "priority system" with imigrants arriving from countries with high political volitility, having 1st priority. That means that the vast majority of imigrants arriving here are refugees from war torn countries such as Bosnia and the former Soviet Union, a few years ago. When Fidel Castro was at the height of his distaste for anything American, the Cubans could get amnesty because of being so oppressed.

    INS only offers a set amount of visas per year. Once all of the political refugees have had their chance, everyone else goes into a lottery arraingement and it comes down to the luck of the draw. But still, the priority procedure is in place. 2nd priority is to people that have close relatives already living here that can sponsor an immigrant. If it were possible to do this, your man would have to go back to Mexico and start the proceedings on his end.

    There isn't really a 3rd or 4th priority because 1st and 2nd take all of the allotments.

    That basically places Mexico at the end of the list. And if that weren't bad enough, INS has been so bombarded with ilegals of Mexican decent that they virtually won't even put Mexico on the list.

    I've been working with Mexicans and other Latinos for over a decade. There are ways of working around these problems, but I can't really say whether they're legal or not. However, if you really like this particular employee, hiring an attorney to try and work him through the system will be a very large waste of time and money. The attorney, if you can even find one that will attempt it, will be basically just taking your money, because he will get nowhere with INS.

    It may be that another forum member can step up to the plate here and correct me if I'm wrong. I'd like to say that this is different, but it is what I've run into. I really hope that I am wrong, because if there's a way I don't know about, I'm as interested as any one.

    I have not had any experience personally with the H2B program. Once I understood it, I realized that it was, in fact, exactly what I was looking for. However, since the September 11th tragedy, a lot of things have changed. Amigos-Inc. has changed their prices, too, which reflects the extra difficulty in getting someone through legally. Also, when I talked with Amigos-Inc. they wanted me to commit to using a minimum of 4 workers and I just don't have enough of an operation for that. It's a very expensive proposition.

    You have to pay the fees to Amigos, you have to run ads, which I think they'll do, you have to deal with the labor department of your state, you have to find places to live for your workers that will allow them to be able to pay no more than $100 dollars per month in rent (and that's impossible here in Tennessee) you have to provide uniforms and pay them a $50 advance when you pick them up at the bus depot.

    So you see, that the cost of doing things the way INS wants, is prohibitive and pointless when there's hardly a day goes by that I don't have a mexican stop by to fill out an application for work.

    I've talked about my Latino workers to the point where I get a lot of private emails asking me where to find workers, how to make sure they're legal, etc, etc. I think I've probably recieved 40-50 emails in the past month. I haven't posted any replies on the forum, because if a man is to use mexicans, and the mexicans are not documented, he's going to have to skirt the laws, play the loopholes and look the other way. I have found ways of getting my workers to mee the letter of the law, but if I got raided, I don't know if it would stand up in court. So I'm not sure that I want to recommend anything on this "public" forum.

    The whole thing is so darn STUPID because the American workers consider this type of work to be way too menial and INS prevents us from finding good latino workers without a major amount of red tape and expense.

    I don't mean to discourage, but I don't really see how you're going to be able to legalize this man.

    I've been working on a statement that will document what I've run into. I'm going to put into Microsoft Word. When I get it finished, I'll be able to answer these emails. Anyone who wants a copy will need to email a request so that I can include their names when I C/C.
  3. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,144

    I spoke with the employee and a translater this morning so we could begin to try to figure things out. This translater is a Mexican lady who helps out quite a bit of the mexicans in the area....there taxes....translating...teaching them english etc. She assures me she has helped other guys in my employees postion get leaglaized through a lawyer and I know a couple other mexican guys going through the process now. Thank you for your help Mowerdude..... but I sure hope you are wrong ;)
    It just amazes me the amount of large established LCO's in my area with illeagal aliens running crews and driving there 40,000 trucks!:confused:
    If anyone else has any knowledge with this please offer your experience.
  4. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    Yes, I definately want to know experiences as well.

    I'm sure that we'll have a lot of notes to compare.
  5. Lance L

    Lance L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 330

    if he isnt at risk of being deported why worry about it?
  6. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    Several reasons.

    #1. If the man can't get a driver's license, he's not going to be able to run a 2nd crew. If you put him out on the road knowing full well that he's unlicensed, you run the huge risk of being sued, having your insurance cancelled..etc. in case of accident. Even a traffic ticket can cause some big headaches. And believe me!! Mexicans WILL get tickets. And they WILL have accidents. If you don't believe me, just go for a vacation in Mexico and see the absolute craziest driving on the planet! One of the biggest problems is that in Mexico, if someone has a 2 car accident, everyone runs away before the police can show up. That's because all witnesses get arrested so that they can testify. No one wants to get arrested. So, we've had a problem with uninsured Mexicans driving without licenses, slamming into other cars and then running away. Fun!!

    #2. If you can't pay his Social Security and his taxes, it's really difficult to deduct his payroll on the Schedule C. So, you have to pay him in cash and if the IRS finds that one out, you're in deep poo poo.

    #3. We all like to sleep at night, because it's comfy knowing that we're running our businesses above board. Yes, it's true, there are a lot reasons we can use to rationalize our use of "illegal" aliens, but INS is ever so insensitive to all of them.

    Should I continue?
  7. Lance L

    Lance L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 330

    ya well for some reason i forgot the whole reason for getting him legal so u can ignor ethat question...:p
  8. Easy Start your H2B program and request "HIM" back, when it's about time for all the paper work to fall in to place have him go back to Mexico for about a month and he will come back all legal.
  9. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 372

    The H2B program is only good if you can prove that you aren't giving good paying jobs to Americans. Only if and when you can do that can you even start the process to bring hispanic workers here. If you work through an agency such as Amigos-Inc, they already have a humongous waiting list. They won't be real thrilled with pushing someone who's already been here ilegally, to the front of the list. Also, if you're man has ever been caught by INS or the border patrol, he'll have been arrested and booked. They'll have his name, photo and prints on file. Then when you try to get him through the H2B program, they'll do a background check. Yes, they do a background check. He'll be stuck in Mexico and you'll get someone else.

    Also, these guys that come here ilegally, use a "coyote" at the border. The Coyote knows all the good crossing spots. Some of these guys are crooks and some are reputable. But all are very expensive. The going price right now is about $1900 per head to get across. Very few hispanics can afford that, so they get hooked up with someone already here to collect the money in payments after they get here and find work. If you're man has not paid off his Coyote, they won't let him leave. If he has paid him off, your man is not going to want to risk going back to Mexico on the chance that he can get in on the H2B thing and take a chance on getting stuck down there. Then he'd have to come up with yet another $1900 to come back across. Before he does that, he'll bale out and go look for other work.

    That's why I say, this whole system absolutely sux!! It's a no win.

    But get this. You might file this peice of info back for a rainy day. The state of Tennessee has become so overrun with hispanics that they started issueing them licenses to drive if they could meet certain requirements. The state of Tennessee wants to see 2 forms of proof of address. Examples are a lease agreement, water bill, cable TV bill, gas or electric or even a phone bill. If they can show those 2 things and then pass the test, both written and driving, they get their Tennessee license. And the written test is multiple choice on a computer in Spanish. Cool huh. Maybe you can get your man down here and get him a Tn D.L. Then he can go back to Pa. and exchange it.

    Here's another tidbit. Even if your man's Social Security number is bogus, if you pay into the Social Security Administration, they take the money. It's way easier for them to do that than it is to send the money back. So you see there is a huge paradox in the ways the laws are set up. It's a big game. On the one hand, we don't like the idea of using undocumented workers and it's ilegal to do so, but on the other hand, once we get them here, the state and SSA help us out. Go figure.

    So get your man to get a bogus green card and a bogus S.S.A. card. Don't worry, he'll know where to find these. Then get him to a state that will issue him a driver's license and you're good to go. If you get raided, hey, he showed you the same things you've always needed from any red blooded American boy and you certainly don't want to get sued for discrimination.

    BTW, I've seen the fake green cards along side the real ones. The only way I knew the difference is that they told me which one was fake. Same with the Social Security Card. And green cards are not green, they're pink. They used to be green years ago, hence the name green card.

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