Agency certifies temporary employees for companies
Silver Spring company checks immigrants status
by Kevin J. Shay
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007
In the face of a report released last week that shows illegal immigration continuing to grow, a Silver Spring staffing company is finding its services in greater demand.
MicroManos provides companies such as hoteliers Marriott International, Hilton Hotels Corp. and Hyatt Corp. with temporary employees who have had their legal status thoroughly examined. MicroManos employees review work documents through software linked to the U.S. Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
Revenue at MicroManos should reach $3 million this year and more than double next year, said Atsumasa Tochisako. He founded the company in 2003 after working for more than a decade for Japanese banks in Latin America.
No one else is doing this type of company, Tochisako said.
Executives with immigration organizations said they hadn heard of any other company offering such a service.
I not aware of anyone doing anything similar to that, said Jeffrey S. Passel, senior research associate at the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington, D.C., nonpartisan research organization. I would hope that they ask non-Hispanic temps the same questions they are asking Hispanic ones.
MicroManos application process is standard for all temps, regardless of background, said Mary Saba, the company workforce manager. The business does place many Hispanic workers, but doesn limit its work to that demographic.
Our first two placements were from Ethiopia and Eritrea, Saba said. Workers with disabilities is another group they work with, she said.
MicroManos turns away 20 to 30 applicants each month because they can provide documents showing they have legal authorization to work in the United States, Saba said. By the end of this year, the company will have placed about 4,000 workers since it began, she said.
Besides providing temps, MicroManos is a professional employment organization, where companies can outsource the administration of their payroll, taxes, employee benefits, workers compensation and other functions.
We reduce the heavy burden of human resources management, Tochisako said.
Farming is top industryfor undocumented workers
Identifying legal and illegal workers has become an issue in certain industries, especially construction, cleaning, farming and food service, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center. Unauthorized immigrants constitute about 24 percent of all workers in farming, 17 percent in cleaning, 14 percent in construction and 12 percent in food preparation, the study says.
Federal officials have said recently that raids searching for illegal workers in businesses and nonprofits will increase in the near future, as will penalties and fines.
In the past year or so, federal authorities have arrested the owners of at least two Maryland businesses for allegedly employing undocumented workers.
New report showsillegal immigration growth
Illegal immigrants number about 11.3 million in the United States and 268,000 in Maryland, according to a study of March 2007 U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday by the Center for Immigration Studies. The Washington, D.C., research institute favors reductions in immigration.
A previous study by the Pew Hispanic Center estimated the national figure at 11.1 million and the state at 250,000 in 2005.
Illegal immigrants in Maryland work and have health insurance at a higher rate than the national average, according to the new study. Maryland unauthorized residents also receive welfare benefits at a lower rate than those in any of the 15 states with the most illegal immigrants.
In Maryland, immigrants legal or illegal are simply better off than are immigrants elsewhere, said Steven A. Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies.
The new study includes an overly broad definition of welfare, extending to programs such as school lunches, Passel said. In reality, illegal immigrants are eligible for very few welfare programs, he said.
This report originally appeared in The Business Gazette.
Relatively few Marylandillegal immigrants on welfare
Maryland illegal immigrants receive welfare benefits at a lower rate than any of the 15 states with the most illegal immigrants, according to a study released Nov. 29.