I represent many “illegal” immigrant farm workers in their personal injury claims. Why?
First, I speak fluent Spanish. I am married to a Guatemalan. We speak Spanish at home with our children. It is only natural that injured Spanish speakers in Central New York would seek out the only Spanish speaking injury lawyer in all central New York counties, including Onondaga, Seneca, Oswego, Ontario, Tioga, Orleans, Wayne and Jefferson Counties. And all these counties have an abundance of Mexican and Guatemalan farm workers tending to our apple orchards, grape vineyards and onion fields.
Second, about one half of all Mexican and Guatemalan farm workers in this area are “illegal”. Actually, I prefer the term “undocumented” immigrants to “illegal”. No person is “illegal”. Crossing the border without legal permission to do so is not a crime, nor is working or living here without legal permission. These are considered civil violations, not criminal ones. That is why when an undocumented immigrant is apprehended, he is not tried for a crime or given a prison sentence. Instead he is merely deported or “removed”, which means he is sent back to his country.
Under our laws, anyone who is injured because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another has a right to bring a claim for compensation for the injuries he or she suffered, regardless of his or her legal status in this country.
And rightly so. If this were not the law, employers and others would have an incentive to abuse undocumented aliens, subjecting them to extremely dangerous working and living conditions. They could do so without having to worry about paying compensation for any injuries the undocumented workers suffered as a consequence. Such a rule would create an unacceptably dangerous environment.
I am proud to represent injured Mexican and Guatemalan farm workers in their injury claims, regardless of their legal status in this country. From my years of experience representing them, I have learned that they are extremely hard-working, honest and even courageous people. They don’t complain or whine. They only come to me when they are so injured they can’t work. When they can work, they work long, hard hours, in dangerous jobs, for low pay, and scrimp and save every dime to send to their wives, children, and sometimes their little brothers and sisters. They come to the United States for only two reasons; to pull their families back home out of dire poverty, and to work hard.
If undocumented immigrants are injured because of someone’s negligence or wrongdoing while here, I will do everything I can to get them every dime they are entitled to, just as I do for all my clients.