According to an article on eyewitnessnewstv.com: “About 20 cleaning workers from Central and South America remained in custody Wednesday after a sweep of six Rhode Island courthouses that targeted illegal immigrants, including some who investigators said used fake names and Social Security numbers to get hired.”
It is no secret that undocumented workers are usually victims of wage violations such as nonpayment payment of wages, overtime or minimum wage. I do not know if this was the case here. However, if the state of Rhode Island hired these cleaning companies and knew or should have known that the workers were not paid the wages they were owed, the state could theoretically be held liable as a joint employer to these workers for unpaid wages. Undocumented immigration status does not preclude workers from pursuing claims for earned, unpaid wages.