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Group Asks For Crackdown On El Paso Wage Theft

El Paso City Council signed off on a resolution against wage theft in the Sun City.

Low-income workers and their advocates brought signs with them to Tuesday’s City Council meeting. One woman told city representatives how she worked as a live-in housekeeper, earning less than minimum wage.

Advocates said while some may be quick to assume that most workers who find themselves the victims of wage theft are most likely in the country illegally, that’s not always the case.

Marco Raposo of the Peace and Justice Ministry told ABC-7 that even if a worker is undocumented, it shouldn’t matter when it comes to his or her compensation.

“The law basically says if you work, then you need to be paid,” he said.

Raposo added that wage theft also hurts the city as a whole when employers fail to pay their fair share through “under the table” deals.

The advocates at Tuesday’s meeting hoped the city would be able to draft a local ordinance creating penalties against wage theft.

City Rep. Steve Ortega said while he supports the resolution, he isn’t quite ready to commit to an ordinance.

Ortega said he feels the state would be better equipped to handle a wage theft law.

Council members voted to send the idea of an ordinance to the city attorney’s office and the Governmental Affairs legislative review committee for further study.

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