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Government & Politics

Ohio Lawmakers Get Into a Heated Debate Over Undocumented Immigrants and Workers' Comp

photo of Bill Seitz

The Senate is now considering a proposal that would ban undocumented workers from receiving workers’ compensation if they’re injured on the job.

The measure passed the House but not without a heated debate between two fiery lawmakers.

Democratic Repr. Dan Ramos of Lorain argued that stripping workers’ comp benefits from undocumented workers would encourage bad-employer practices.

“If the workplace is unsafe for one employee, regardless of their status or documentation, it’s unsafe for all employees. It is unsafe period,” he said.

But Republican Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati says if employers knowingly hire an undocumented worker, they could be sued.

“The employer gets victimized twice. First he’s been deceived by the employee for turning in forged papers and then to add insult onto injury he gets to turn around and pay the medical bill for the illegal alien that deceived the employer in the first place,” he said.

But Ramos and other opponents maintain the bill could actually encourage employers to hire undocumented workers because the costs of those employees could be lower.

The measure, which is found in the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget bill, now moves to the Senate.