New Protection for Undocumented Workers

A new Obama administration initiative will make it tougher for employers to use the threat of deportation to discourage immigrant workers from reporting labor law violations. Andrew Schneider has the story.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security would draw a red line between the enforcement powers of Labor and those of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

“ICE is agreeing to refrain from enforcement activities at most work sites where there is an existing DoL investigation of a labor dispute.”

Richard Shaw, secretary-treasurer for the Harris County AFL-CIO council, says the agreement will go a long way toward protecting undocumented workers from employer retaliation.

“In the long run, it’d be nice to have it in law. But in the short run, these are two departments within one administration, and they’ve agreed to act together in certain matters. I think, under the circumstances, that’s probably the best we can do now. I don’t know if there’s ever been anything like this before. My memory says no.”

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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