Many immigrants working at WTC cleanup

As reported in Newsday, “experts estimate that [among the 40,000 workers engaged in the cleanup] between 3,000 and 10,000 Ground Zero workers were immigrants, of which half — between 1,500 and 5,000 — were in the country without papers, said Carmen Calderon of the Manhattan-based nonprofit New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health.” Another estimate can be derived from the Sept 2006 Mt. Sinai Medical Center medical study of 9,000 cleanup workers. It reported that 17% of examinations were in languages other than English: 10.3% in Spanish, 3.3% in Polish, 0.3% in other. Per the Mt. Sinai study, 23.8% of those examined had Hispanic ethnicity. So assuming that 20% of the workers were immigrants, Let’s estimate that 75% of Hispanic workers, or 17.8% are immigrants. Adding the Polish speaking we come to about 20% of all workers, or 8,000 workers.
How many were undocumented? 1,500 seems to be too low, and 4,000 – 5,000 conceivable if you assume that 75% of Spanish speakers are undocumented and 75% of Polish speakers are undocumented. I don’t have a way to make a better estimate.
The Newsday article goes on:
Interviews across the region show that some of the undocumented immigrants who worked at the site are, in fact, now seeking treatment offered by Stony Brook, Mount Sinai and other regional facilities.
In February, Calderon’s group opened an office in Hauppauge to search out these workers on Long Island and to offer assistance. Meanwhile, Stony Brook’s monitoring program is planning to hire a Spanish-speaking doctor and social worker to cope with what they expect will be a growing number of undocumented immigrants coming for help at the Islandia clinic.
Experts and activists say that many of the undocumented immigrants have not come forward because of language barriers. Others fear deportation, although government officials say they don’t plan any such crackdowns. Calderon said most of the undocumented immigrants are from Poland, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

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