Undocumented workers are often reluctant to report labor and employment violations or cooperate in workplace investigations out of fear of deportation or other immigration-related retaliation by an abusive employer. But last week the Department of Homeland Security announced Process Enhancements for Supporting Labor Enforcement Investigations. Effective immediately, this policy means that noncitizen workers who are victims of or witnesses to the violation of labor rights can access a streamlined deferred action request process (protection from deportation). Workers taking part in an investigation can also apply for and obtain employment authorization for the period of deferred action which is typically two years.
Effective immediately, this new process will improve DHS’s long standing practice of using its discretionary authority to consider labor and employment agency-related requests for deferred action on a case-by-case basis.
Application Guidelines for Reporting Violations of Labor Rights
The new policy offers a streamlined and clear process for submitting a request for investigation; it lays out guidelines for applicants which detail the steps and list the documentation required to apply. Requests can be filed even for those who are already in removal proceedings or already subject to a final order of removal, and will be reviewed by USCIS. Required documentation includes:
- Proof from a labor or employment agency describing the investigation and the need for DHS support
- Proof of identity
- Proof the worker was employed at the company
Labor and immigration groups are praising this development, given that the new process protects migrant workers from employers who might use their immigration status as a way to retaliate against them for coming forward about things like wage or workplace violations. The new policy furthers the Biden Administration’s desire to protect and to improve the conditions of workers who are exploited.
Next Steps: Help for Migrant Workers Reporting Labor or Employment Violations
Here at Reeves Immigration Law Group, we understand that reporting workplace violations can be intimidating. If you have been a victim of (or witness to) the violation of labor rights, we recommend talking with an employment-based immigration attorney who can help you understand how to request a labor investigation. Our team is made up of some of the best immigration attorneys in the country who can help you with your application and make the process as seamless as possible.