© 2022 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Half of All Construction Workers May Be Undocumented

As many as half of Texas construction workers could be undocumented immigrants, according to a study released today.

In the study, the Workers Defense Project examined building permits in five big markets across the state, including Austin. They visited random residential and commercial building projects to survey 1,200 construction workers during lunch breaks or after their shifts.

courtesy flickr.com/carlos /

Almost half the workers admitted to being undocumented.

Cristina Tzintzún with the Workers Defense Project says undocumented workers are at a disadvantage, especially if their employers are aware of their immigration status.

“When employers are able to threaten immigration enforcement against workers, workers are actually afraid oftentimes to step forward when there are unsafe working conditions and when they’re not being paid right for their work,” Tzintzún said.

She says the report highlights the importance of Congress coming to an agreement on changes to immigration policy, especially here in Texas.

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Matt has been a reporter at KUT off and on since 2006. He came to Austin from Boston, then went back for a while--but couldn't stand to be away--so he came back to Austin. Matt grew up in Maine (but hates lobster), and while it might sound hard to believe, he thinks Maine and Texas are remarkably similar.
Mark Dewey