By MELANIE TRUSTY
Capital News Service
LANSING – A Grand Ledge representative wants to stop illegal aliens from “stealing jobs” from
Michigan residents and receiving workers‟ compensation benefits if they‟re injured on the job.
“The word „illegal‟ must mean something, and if an alien defrauds a company with fake
identification, he should not be able to get benefits from the system,” said Rep. Rick Jones, a
Jones announced his proposal after he discovered the case of an illegal alien who
collected workers‟ compensation benefits for eight years for a back injury suffered while
working for a Southfield-based company.
“I‟ve heard from carpenters and other workers who have reported job losses in Michigan
due to illegal aliens,” Jones said.
However, Teresa Hendricks, the executive director of Michigan Migrant Legal
Assistance Project Inc. in Grand Rapids, said if Jones understood the workers‟ compensation
system, he wouldn‟t pursue the bill.
“The employers that I talked to want their undocumented workers covered,” Hendricks
Workers‟ compensation entitles an employee to wage replacement, medical and
rehabilitation benefits as a result of work-related injury or disease.
The Department of Labor and Economic Growth has no position on Jones‟ proposal, said
Jack Nolish, director of the Workers‟ Compensation Agency.
Nolish said the agency doesn‟t ask about immigration status when an injured worker
makes a claim.
Jones said his bill isn‟t aimed at legal migrant farm workers.
“We need migrant farm workers,” Jones said. “I just have a problem with illegal aliens
using false identification to get Michigan jobs.”
Rep. Steve Tobocman, D-Detroit, said all workers deserve benefits, regardless of their
Tobocman said Jones‟ bill would encourage employers to hire undocumented workers
because employers wouldn‟t have to pay for workers‟ compensation insurance if becomes a law.
“It‟s the wrong incentive to send for Michigan,” he said.