Can I Be Removed (Deported) if I File an Injury Claim in Texas?

Workplace Injuries to Undocumented Immigrants

As an undocumented immigrant living in Texas, the risk of being removed (or deported) is a constant concern. With the federal government’s current stance against illegal immigration, the threat of removal has become even greater recently, and both state and federal authorities are now aggressively enforcing anti-immigration laws against undocumented workers.

For undocumented workers who get injured on the job, this raises a difficult question: If you seek financial compensation for your injuries (which Texas law clearly allows), could this lead to you being deported?

Work Injury Claims and the Risk of Deportation

The answer to this question should be, “No.” As an undocumented immigrant working in Texas, you have the right to seek financial compensation for a work-related injury, and you cannot be penalized for asserting your legal rights. The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who seek financial compensation for their injuries. In fact, employers can be held liable for additional compensation if they retaliate by taking adverse action against injured employees.

Similarly, it is unethical for defense lawyers to threaten undocumented workers with deportation. If you are entitled to a financial recovery – whether in the form of workers’ compensation benefits or personal injury damages – your employer’s (or its insurance company’s) lawyers cannot use your undocumented status against you. In addition, since your immigration status is irrelevant to your right to compensation, you can seek to prevent your undocumented status from being made public if your case goes to court.

However, the reality is that some workers who file claims for financial compensation are facing deportation. As a result, if you are an undocumented immigrant and you have been hurt at work, it is important that you speak with an attorney promptly. If your employer participates in workers’ compensation, you only have 30 days to report your injury; and, if you wait too long, you could lose your benefit claim entirely.

Protecting Your Rights After a Work-Related Injury

With these considerations in mind, what should you do if you suffer an injury on the job?

  • Take Notes and Photographs – In order to recover compensation, you will need evidence of the cause of your injuries. If possible, you should take photos of the location where you were injured, and write down everything you remember about the accident.
  • Avoid Discussing the Accident – After getting hurt at work, your first call should be to an attorney. Even setting aside the potential risk of deportation, you do not want to unknowingly say something that could jeopardize your financial recovery.
  • Talk to an Experienced Attorney – The best way to protect your rights is to speak with an experienced attorney. While you have 30 days to report your injury, you should seek medical attention promptly (and you may need to see an approved doctor), and you need to make sure you are making informed decisions every step of the way.

Speak with an Experienced Attorney in Confidence

At Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos, we provide experienced legal representation for undocumented workers in the greater San Antonio area. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced work injury lawyer, please call (210) 308-8811 or contact us online today.