While many people believe immigration laws, a widely discussed and strongly debated topic, need to be revisited, what is not under question is the rapid rate at which this group is increasing. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that noncitizens are an increasing segment in U.S. society, as evidenced by data recently released from a 2010-2012 analysis of those under the age of 35.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines “noncitizens” as Census respondents who indicated they were “not U.S. citizens at the time of the survey.”

Noncitizens Under Age 35: 2010-2012According to the U.S. Census, states with higher-than-average (3.3 percent) rates of noncitizen populations under the age of 35 include California (6.1 percent), Texas (5.1 percent), Nevada (4.8 percent), New Jersey (4.8 percent), New York (4.7 percent), District of Columbia (4.2 percent), Florida (3.9 percent), Maryland (3.8 percent), Massachusetts (3.7 percent), Arizona (3.6 percent), Washington state (3.6 percent) and Illinois (3.5 percent).

Additionally, Census findings show that there were approximately 5.7 million noncitizens aged 25-34 between 2010 and 2012. Of those, 75 percent of noncitizens were part of the civilian labor force. Further, the report states, “employed noncitizens were most likely to work in service occupations (27 percent) … and natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations (20 percent).” The report adds that “noncitizens were about 50 percent more likely than their citizen counterparts to work in either service occupations (27 percent and 18 percent, respectively) … Notably, noncitizens in this age group were over twice as likely as citizens to work in natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations (20 percent and 9 percent, respectively).”

So what does all of this mean for the window industry, which essentially can be classified as either a construction or service segment trade?

As an industry that demands a younger workforce based on the physical nature of installations, it should be of great concern. The largest segment of noncitizens under 35 are aged 25-34 (55.3 percent). Combined with those in the 18-24 segment, the total percentage of potential noncitizen workers under 35 comes to 80.1 percent, or 8.24 million people.

So how can you protect your company from hiring undocumented, noncitizen workers? According to the Department of Labor, as part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, “employers may hire only persons who may legally work in the United States (i.e., citizens and nationals of the U.S.) and aliens authorized to work in the U.S. The employer must verify the identity and employment eligibility of anyone to be hired, which includes completing the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9). Employers must keep each I-9 on file for at least three years, or one year after employment ends, whichever is longer.” All newly hired employees must complete the form no later than the first day of employment, but not before a job offer has been accepted, for the employer to be compliant.

You can download the I-9 form for your company here: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-9.pdf.

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