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"In North Carolina, legal and undocumented immigrants make up more than 10 percent of the workforce.

Since the end of 2007, the number of foreign-born workers employed in the U.S. has climbed by nearly 3.1 million to 25.9 million; they account for 56 percent of the increase in U.S. employment over that period, according to the Labor Department.

The foreign-born – who include American citizens, green-card holders and those working without legal authorization – tend to be younger and to take jobs in fields that have been growing fastest, including restaurants, hotels and stores."

"In states like Georgia and North Carolina, their presence has grown rapidly to represent 5.4 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, of the labor force. In all but four states, service occupations, such as being a waiter, dishwasher or maid, together draw the largest number of undocumented immigrants, the Pew report found. About 31 percent of all undocumented immigrant workers were in service occupations in 2016, according to the estimates, which were based on data gathered by the Census Bureau.

Unauthorized immigrants represent about 24 percent of all workers in farming, fishing and forestry and 15 percent of those employed in construction, which is the industry that uses the most undocumented immigrant workers overall, at 1.35 million.

Nearly one quarter of restaurant workers in 2016 were foreign-born compared with 18.5 percent for all sectors, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compiled by the National Restaurant Association. A large share are likely undocumented, economists say."








Olivieri, VJ. US Dept. of Ag., 1993; 2 Quandt, SAF. Public Health Reports, 2004; 3 Public Law 104-299, 1996; 4 Larson, A. Farmworker Enumeration Study, 2000; 5 Report of the Commission on Agricultural Workers, 1992; 6 NC Employment Security Commission, 2005; 7 National Agricultural Workers Survey, US Dept. of Labor, 2005; 8 NC Dept. of Ag., 2004; 9 Sutter, S. NC State University, 1988; 10 Ward, L. East Coast Analysis of NAWS, 1998; 11 Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938, 1978; 12 US Dept. of Labor, Prevailing Wage Surveys, 2002; 13 Early, J. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 2006; 14 NC Migrant Housing Act, 1989; 15 Housing Assistance Council, 2001; 16 Arcury, T. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2006; 17 National Center for Farmworker Health; 18 Krejci-Manwaring J. Journal of Ag. Safety & Health, 2006; 19 NC General Statute 97-13b; 20 WRAL, 2005; 21 National Farm Worker Ministry, 2006. Full citations available at

Published by the NC Farmworker Institute with funds from the Office of Rural Health and Community Care, NC Farmworker Health Program, 2007

Southern Poverty Law center

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