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All workers must have the ability to work without worrying that their rights will be denied or that they will be put in situations that may affect their legal status. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many immigrant workers in the United States. Despite this, there are many resources that can help immigrant workers advocate for themselves and prevent acts by the employer that can negatively affect the livelihoods of workers and their families.

DACA and the labor rights of immigrant workers

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) site, the Deferred Action Consideration for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides certain individuals with employment authorization that leaves immigrants without fear of deportation. DACA also includes several provisions that ensure that the rights of immigrant workers in the workplace will be protected. Examples of some of the most important provisions are:

  • Immigrant workers do not have an affirmative duty to tell their employer that they have DACA, that DACA has been terminated or rescinded, or that their work authorization has expired or will expire.

  • Immigrant workers are advised not to provide the employer with more information about their immigration status than is required.

  • The reverification process occurs when an employer asks to see a document that the worker provided again and can only be done in certain circumstances.

- If your employer assigns you or a certain group of co-workers for reverification

without a legitimate reason, such as the expiration of your document, the employer

may be conducting an illegal reverification.

- If employers reverify workers, they must treat those workers the same regardless

of their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.

- If the employer treats workers differently, for example by re-checking some of

them but not others, the employer's action could be illegal.

- It is also illegal for an employer to request more documents or documents other

than those required by the employment eligibility verification process or to require

certain documents over others.

The U Visa and how it can protect workers

The U Visa provides significant relief and alternative for workers in abusive settings who fear losing their existing legal immigration status due to employer retaliation or who are targeted for lack of current legal status and are hesitant to report as a result. criminal activity in compliance with the law. The purpose of the U Visa is to incentivize immigrants to report crimes and also provide protection to those who are willing to cooperate. When the U Visa was created in 2000, Congress intended the law to protect victims of domestic and other violent crimes but also explicitly stated its intent that the visa protect against qualified place-related crimes. of work.

In terms of protections for immigrant workers, the U Visa has the following benefits:

  • Legal status for up to four years

  • Work authorization

  • Derivative Benefits for Qualifying Family Members

  • Eligibility to adjust status to lawful permanent resident after three years

Although workers can receive a U Visa under current law, senators and congressmen are still in the process of expanding protections for immigrant workers who have been abused that do not rise to the level of a crime that qualifies for a U visa.

Citizen discrimination

Citizen discrimination occurs when an employer treats a worker differently because of citizenship or immigration status. Some examples of this type of illegal discrimination include employers who have rules that explicitly announce that the employer only hires citizens or immigrants with a green card.

If an employer has discriminated against you, seek help immediately.

  • The deadline for filing this type of discrimination complaint against employers is 180 days after the discrimination occurred.

  • Seek help from a local legal aid office, community agency, or government agency.

In the case of discrimination due to citizenship or immigration status, an example of an organization that you can contact is Mil Mujeres. Each year, Mil Mujeres assists many workers with legal advice, assists immigrants in their application for a U Visa and DACA, and advocates for the legal rights of immigrants who have been victims of crime in the workplace. For more information on how we can help you in the application process for your immigration benefit, visit the “Contact” section on our website, call us at (202) 808 3311 or write to us at

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