For Immediate Release
Friday, January 13, 2023
Contact: Erik Villalobos, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 643-7348
Nationwide – In response to today’s announcement of a new workers rights policy by the US Department of Homeland Security, workers rights organizations from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Immigrant Work released the statements below, and held a virtual press call to respond to the new immigrant whistleblower policy.
Since day one of the Biden Administration, day laborer centers and worker rights organizations have called for immediate use of existing executive authority to protect immigrant workers by stopping deportations and granting work authorization for those who denounce workplace abuse. In October 2021, they launched the Blue Ribbon Commission on Immigrant Work – consisting of workers from various industries – organizing nationwide to make visible the crisis of workplace abuse facing migrant workers, and under the banner of the DALE Campaign, pushed forward the conversation with the Biden Administration. Read more about the campaign here.
“From Las Vegas to Washington DC, to Mississippi to New York, we have fought tirelessly to reach this moment. My coworkers and I have been fighting our case for more than three years, facing threats and intimidation on top of wage theft and health and safety risks as workers of Unforgettable Coatings Inc., said Rosario Ortiz, workers rights leader, and member of the Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center. “We’ve met personally with Secretary Walsh, and Secretary Maryokas to call for these protections. Today I am proud of my coworkers and our brothers and sisters across the country who have helped open a pathway for others in our circumstances to seek the protections that we have won.”
More statements on behalf of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Immigrant Work:
“Today opens a pathway full of hope for those of us workers who fear reporting workplace abuses, so that we can come forward to share the challenges we face everyday in hostile workplaces, suffering abuses like wage theft. When we speak up and exercise our rights, we face retaliation. These protections are an important step to be able to speak up safely, and an opportunity to improve our working conditions and our lives.” – Jonas Reyes, worker leader, Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center
“The bosses always act like they have more power than the workers. My co-workers and I overcame our fear to denounce labor abuses. Deferred action is labor justice for all workers who remain silent in the face of abuse.” – Victor Agreda, workers rights leaders, Unidad Latina en Acción
“I invite all immigrant workers to leave fear behind. Fear and silence don’t win us anything. With this new process, it’s possible to be more protected for speaking up on the job. Now is the time to organize and take action at work!” – Sofia Magdalena, Worker Leader, Member of Arise Chicago
“It is just and necessary that all workers in the state of New York be recognized, regardless of immigration status or incarceration history.” – Francis Mendoza, Worker Leader, Member of Yonkers Sanctuary Movement
“This is a huge victory for undocumented workers and the labor movement. Our fight goes beyond our immigration status, it is a fight for all the workers who sustain the economy of this country. Without our hands there is no work.” – Haydi Torres, Organizer, Unidad Latina en Acción NJ
“Words without actions are not enough. This policy will change lives, but only if our local and national leaders stand with workers loud and clear, to make this policy a reality.” – John Jairo Lugo, Director of Unidad Latina en Acción CT
“The threat of deportation is like a gun in the boss’s hand, pointed at workers and their rights. Today President Biden could grab that gun right from his hand.” – James Bhandary-Alexander, Yale Law School professor and attorney with Unidad Latina en Acción CT
“Across the country immigrant workers have bravely denounced abuse from their employers; but while labor agencies prosecute their cases, DHS has stalled in granting them the protections they deserve. The Biden Administration’s policy announcement is a step towards protecting the rights of all workers. For the policy to be a success, however, the Administration must be fully committed to act on these promises with urgency. Until immigrant workers in Texas can stand up to abusive employers without fear of retaliation and deportation, all workers will continue to suffer wide-spread wage theft and unsafe working conditions.” – Sean Goldhammer, Director of Employment Legal Services, Workers Defense Project
More about the campaign.
About Desde Abajo Labor Enforcement.
The D.A.L.E. campaign was launched to
make visible the crisis of workplace abuse and unsafe conditions
and demand action win respect & protections
Watch a video of campaign efforts.
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