‘I Have Rights:’ How Undocumented Laborers Are Exploited During Disaster Recovery
Mario used to work. A lot. Twelve-hour workdays and seven-day workweeks are kind of the expectation when your job is to rebuild after a storm—and you’re undocumented. He hasn’t worked in about a year, though.
When Hurricane Michael roared through Florida last October, the 47-year-old left his New Orleans home knowing there would be plenty of work, and he had experience working in recovery after Katrina. Mario—an undocumented worker who asked to go by his nickname for fear of retaliation—first found work in Florida clearing out some of the state’s 72 million trees Michael damaged. Eventually, though, his day-to-day involved climbing roofs to cover homes with blue tarps to protect the interior from further damage. While the Army Corps of Engineers installed some 7,800 blue roofs throughout the state, all it took was one to change Mario’s life forever. He suffered injuries on the job that will be with him for the rest of his life.
It’s a story that’s played out countless times. Undocumented workers undergird disaster recovery efforts in the U.S., and a number of seedy companies employ them and profit off of their work. In addition to working in unsafe conditions, several post-disaster assessments by universities found undocumented recovery workers are subject to wage theft, all while companies hold the prospect of making a call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement if workers complain. And in Donald Trump’s America, the threat of deportation…
Study: California’s big July quakes strain major fault
The earthquakes that hammered the Southern California desert near the town of Ridgecrest last summer involved ruptures on a web of interconnected faults and increased strain on a major nearby fault that has begun to slowly move, according to a new study.
Ruptures in the Ridgecrest earthquake sequence ended a few miles from the Garlock Fault, which runs east-west for 185 miles (300 kilometers) from the San Andreas Fault to Death Valley.
The Garlock Fault has been relatively quiet for 500 years. It now has begun a process called fault creep and has slipped 0.8 inch (2 centimeters) since July, the research found….