Our new office is located at 5901 Old Fredericksburg Road, Building C, Suite 102, Austin, TX, 78749.

Can an Illegal Immigrant Work in the US?

Can an Illegal Immigrant Work in the US?

By Brian in Immigration | on 2023-11-10 17:13:30

Estimates indicate that about 11.4 million undocumented immigrants are living in the United States. Many people need to earn a living and support families, even if they have unauthorized status. It is common to wonder under what circumstances illegal immigrants can work in the U.S.

If you need assistance addressing your immigration status, never hesitate to consult with experienced Austin immigration attorneys at J. Sparks Law

When Can Someone Work Without Authorization?

While it is possible for an undocumented immigrant to work in the United States, doing so is against federal law. U.S. immigration laws require employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of all employees, which includes completing Form I-9. Below are some things to consider regarding working without authorization.

Employment Authorization

Undocumented immigrants do not have legal authorization to work in the U.S. They are not eligible for Social Security numbers, which are typically required for employment.

Consequences for Employers

Hiring an undocumented worker knowingly or unknowingly can have serious legal consequences for employers. Penalties for employing unauthorized workers can include fines, and in some cases, criminal charges.

Form I-9 Compliance

Employers are required to complete and retain Form I-9 for each employee, which verifies the employee’s identity and authorization to work. Providing false information on this form is illegal.

Potential for Exploitation

Undocumented workers are vulnerable to exploitation due to their lack of legal status. They may be paid below minimum wage, denied benefits, or subjected to unsafe working conditions.

Pathways to Legal Employment

Some undocumented immigrants may be eligible for work authorization through programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These programs provide limited protection from deportation and permission to work legally in the U.S.

Seeking Legal Status

Undocumented immigrants who want to work legally in the U.S. should consult with an immigration attorney to explore potential pathways to legal status. This may involve family-based immigration, employment-based visas, or other options.

Risks of Deportation

Undocumented workers are at risk of deportation if they come into contact with immigration authorities. This can happen during routine traffic stops, encounters with law enforcement, or other situations.

U.S. immigration policies and enforcement priorities can change over time. It’s important for both employers and employees to stay informed about current laws and regulations.

There are ongoing debates and discussions about immigration policy and reform in the U.S. Changes in legislation and policies may impact the ability of undocumented immigrants to work legally in the future.

One step you can take is to discuss your options with an immigration attorney who can evaluate your options for visas or other documentation. You might have a pathway to lawful immigration and not realize it, and it is not worth risking your future and well-being to work as an illegal immigrant. 

Our Austin Immigration Lawyers Can Help

At J. Sparks Law, we help clients in a wide range of situations with immigration matters. Contact our office today to learn more.

Julie Sparks

Julie Sparks is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law, one of a few such attorneys in Texas. After 15 years of practice in this field, she has represented immigrants from more than 70 different countries.

Get In Touch With Us

Call Today to Schedule a Consultation