DOVER, Del. – Immigration activists in Delaware are feeling hopeful after lawmakers proposed changes to Senate Bill 95 in order to better address the needs of undocumented immigrants.
The bill has raised major concerns because some believe it has significant unintended consequences for these immigrants.
“For all of us, it’s important that people hear our voice,” said Jose Adrian Mateos, a subcontractor.
“For them to know that the Latino community is here and that we don’t want to get left behind because we are important for this state,” said Mateos.
Senate Bill 95 aims to provide a fair bidding environment for contractors who obey the law and protect the interest of all workers in the First State.
Now lawmakers are proposing to alter the language of this bill so that workers can use their Individual Tax Payer Identification Number to register in the department of labor without revealing their status.
“This is really good to protect those individuals especially in the Hispanic Latino community where there is a large Latino workforce and we want to make sure that they’re truly treated as employees,” said the Chairman of the Delaware Hispanic Commission, Javier Torrijos.
Subcontractors like Jose Adrian Mateos say these changes would be a relief. Mateos says the bill as it is currently written could leave many of his employees and their families without a job.
“There is still a lot of time left to go, but in the long run it would have affected me because I have several employees,” said Mateos.
“What would have happened with them, and what would have happened to me?” said Mateos.
The chairman of the Delaware Hispanic Commission says these proposed changes show them that they are getting more support from their legislators.
“To see that language being drafted into the new revised bill is really a good demonstration of collaboration and working with the community hearing their concerns,” said Torrijos.