Compensation for unauthorized immigrants

Compensation for unauthorized immigrants

There are different aspects of payroll: compensation for immigrants who do not have proper authorization to work in the US. The law is crystal clear: No employer may hire and compensate an individual who does not have authorization to work in the US.

Churches are not exempt from this law, and it doesn’t matter how the compensation is characterized – salary, wages, love offering, stipend, gift cards or simply cash “under the table” – it remains taxable compensation and cannot lawfully be paid to an unauthorized employee. Nor can a church classify the person as an independent contractor.

Churches located in any of California’s so-called “sanctuary cities” are not protected from the reach of federal law. Both civil and criminal penalties can be imposed on the church, pastor, officers, directors and anyone connected in some manner to the hiring process, for knowingly employing an unauthorized worker. Criminal penalties can include both fines and incarceration.

The Convention can provide referrals to immigration attorneys who may be able to assist churches.

Contact Max Herr at for more information.

This Convention serves our culturally diverse congregations as we fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.