Michigan: Legislation would ensure WC benefits for illegal aliens
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, introduced H.B. 5952 to amend Michigan's workers' comp law. Currently, employers in the state are not liable for compensation for periods of time that an employee is "unable to obtain or perform work because of imprisonment or commission of a crime." Tlaib's legislation would ensure that "commission of a crime" does not include an alien's working without employment authorization or use of false documents to obtain employment or seek work.
At a rally in support of undocumented workers in Lansing, Mich., Tlaib said the impetus for proposing the bill was the fact that Michigan is one of the few states that denies comp benefits for illegal aliens who are injured on the job.
The measure quickly came under fire from Republicans in the state. Rep. Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake, said the bill would hurt Michigan employers who are already struggling to stay afloat in the midst of a recession.
"Why would anyone want to burden them further?" she asked. "With a 14 percent plus unemployment rate, the main priority of this Legislature has to be job creation for Michigan families, not loopholes for illegal citizens."
Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, agreed, saying that he was "shocked and appalled" that anyone would want to encourage illegal aliens to come to Michigan with false documents to look for a job.
"The only thing we should give an illegal alien is a ticket to leave the country," he said. "The hardworking people of Michigan need jobs, and I want to stop illegals from taking those jobs."
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Labor for review.
Read more at the WORKERSCOMP ForumTM homepage.
April 29, 2010
Copyright 2010© LRP Publications