(Florida) As Governor Ron DeSantis rolls out an aggressive crackdown on undocumented immigrants and families in Florida, South Florida immigrant workers hosted community forums in West Palm Beach and Homestead to spread awareness about the recently announced policy for undocumented workers affected by workplace abuse from the US. Department of Homeland Security. Over 100 workers participated in these forums, learning about how they could be eligible for immigration protections by standing up against wage theft and safety violations.
On January 13, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that noncitizen workers who are victims of, or witnesses to, the violation of labor rights, can now access a streamlined and expedited deferred action request process to advance their workplace rights. Deferred action protects immigrant workers from threats of immigration-related retaliation from exploitative employers. This new policy is a direct result of Deferred Action for Labor Enforcement (DALE), a national campaign led by immigrant workers, day labor centers, and workers centers’ calling on the Biden administration to make immediate use of his existing executive authority to protect workers from labor abuses and the threat of deportation.
“The new deferred action policy was won by tireless advocacy from Florida immigrant workers and other workers from across the country. Forums such as these are now critical for spreading awareness among our communities, and for continuing to build power as we fight back against Governor DeSantis’ racist anti-immigrant agenda” said Maricela Torres, Executive Director, Esperanza Community Center.
“For years, immigrant workers in Florida have faced a growing epidemic of worker abuse, including wage theft, unsafe working conditions, and the busting of unions. Despite inadequate legal protections and the constant threat of retaliation, immigrant workers have courageously stood up to their abusive employers to demand fair workplaces for all. Governor Ron DeSantis continues to enable these abuses with his anti-worker and anti-immigrant agenda, but immigrant workers and families in Florida are fighting back. We won’t stop organizing until we win the Florida we all deserve,” said Oscar Londoño, Co-Executive Director of WeCount!.
Organizations such the Esperanza Community Center, and WeCount!—both of whom hosted the forums this week, will continue to educate workers on their eligibility for protections, and are calling on President Biden to build greater awareness by publicly announcing this policy.
More about the DALE campaign.