The British Guardian newspaper has published an extensive feature about undocumented construction workers in Charlotte/Mecklenberg County, with an observation that a third of the region’s undocumented workers are employed in construction, about double the national average.
The story reports on interviews with 20 undocumented construction workers, and describes the impact of increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under Donald Trump’s administration.
David, a builder from Mexico, is one of more than 20 people the Guardian spoke with about the undocumented community in Charlotte, where 5.44% of people in the county are undocumented. Nationwide, 3.5% of the population is undocumented. In a three-part series, we will examine how a city would be affected if such workers were no longer there. This article looks at David’s industry – construction – while pieces to follow will focus on the food sector and education.
During last month’s Day Without Immigrants protest, David’s work site was “literally stopped”, he says, because none of the concrete workers came to work that day and neither did most of the framers. David chose to work that day, but his bosses told him they understood his colleagues’ reasons for striking. “They weren’t angry,” said David, whose name has been changed to protect his identity. “They were mostly worried because the workers were talking about doing it for a week next time.”
Local contractors said they were falling behind on projects because of the protests, which were by both legal and illegal immigrants. A bigger national protest is expected on May Day.
The story describes other undocumented immigrants and how they are reacting/responding to the new, tougher environment for undocumented workers.