New York Immigrants Call on DHS to Speed ​​Up Deportation Protections for Abused Workers

New York Immigrants Call on DHS to Speed ​​Up Deportation Protections for Abused Workers

With the growing migration crisis that for decades has left thousands of undocumented New Yorkers in the shadows, and given the lack of real action from Washington to approve a broad path towards legalization, which has remained in mere “golden birds”, hundreds of immigrants activists and community leaders from the Big Apple will raise their voices this Saturday to demand that the Biden Administration relief against deportations.

Upon summoning the call “New York Popular Assembly: From Invisible to Visible”, the National Network of Day Labor Organization (NDLON) and day labor centers and workers’ rights organizations in the tri-state area will march this Saturday afternoon to the offices of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Building, Manhattan.

The protest, with which they are also promoting “Give it from below”, the campaign seeks to ask the federal authorities to accelerate the implementation of a joint plan, (in force for several months), between the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security (DHS) to grant deferred action relief to workers who have been mistreated by their employers, stolen wages, threatened and exploited.

That’s how Jorge Torres stated it from the National Network of Day Laborers Organization (NDLON), who said that the initiative, from which some workers have already benefited, prevents them from being deported.

“It is time to protect our workers from deportations and to find a solution to this immigration crisis, not with immigration reform, in which I do not think it will be approved, since it has been for more than 30 years only one political game, but with the extension of Deferred Actions”, said the activist.

The worker leader stated that the objective of the call is also to explain to the workers that there is currently the option of requesting deferred action against deportation, if there is a case before the Department of Labor, OSHA or other federal entities.

“The federal Department of Labor announced a few months ago the guidelines so that workers who are victims of workplace abuse can apply for Deferred Action in cases that are under investigation. This information has already been received by the Department of Homeland Security, and although there have been cases of workers who have already applied and received their papers under this parameter, that Department is being very slow and they have not made public the guidelines to inform about this option”, added Torres.

Precisely at the meeting prior to this Saturday’s march, workers who have already achieved the granting of deferred action will share their stories narrating how they achieved it, to motivate for more workers who qualify for that benefit to request it.

“The first recommendation we are giving is that if a worker has been a victim of abuse, they approach a non-profit organization to talk about their cases. And once you have a case with the Department of Labor, NLRB (The National Labor Relations Board) or OSHA, you can do the paperwork,” said the NDLON spokesperson.

Torres was clear in warning that currently the undocumented immigrant community has no other options to seek protections against deportation beyond the so-called deferred actions (including DACA and TPS), for which he urged to inquire about this possibility, recognizing that the fear of being on the Immigration radar has prevented many workers from launching to seek that protection.

“The fear has been constant since we left our countries and crossed the border. So what we tell people is that to overcome that fear you have to have a lot of bases covered. For example: do not trust notaries, talk to local organizations and denounce labor abuses and take advantage of this option that exists so that exploitation ceases and rights are respected”, added the immigrant.

Torres explained that the case lasts while agencies such as the Department of Labor carry out the investigation of labor abuses and then those federal agencies, seeing merits, send a letter of recommendation to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and they grant protection relief. against deportation,” said the activist, who added that before the case is shared with DHS “agencies are not supposed to share information” about undocumented immigrants.

In the state of New York, worker applications related to this option to receive protection against deportation have not yet been established, but in Chicago and Las Vegas, several immigrant victims of abuse have won their cases, so they will be in the Big Apple. encouraging others to follow in his footsteps.

One of them is the Mexican Rosario Ortiz, who has been in the United States for 19 years and recently managed to get the Department of Homeland Security to grant him deferred action, which gives him peace of mind that he will not be deported. It is a kind of permit to stay in the country without being persecuted by immigration authorities, but it is not legalization and it does not allow you to leave US territory.

In my case we had to fight long and put a lot of pressure on it to the Department of Labor to support us and also to Alejandro Mallorca, director of National Security, to be able to seize deferred action,” said the immigrant, who, working as a painter, was the victim of wage theft for overtime, threats due to his immigration status, and even I work for free on Saturday weekends and verbal insults.

“That is why I can advise workers who have suffered abuses that the main thing is to report these abuses, because we can obtain a benefit. Getting my deferred action was a year and a half process, almost two, but I finally made it and I can be calmer“, concluded the beneficiary of the deferred action that prevents him from being deported.

The exact number of undocumented workers in New York who could benefit from this measure is unknown, but according to activists, it is estimated that 65% of workers they have generally suffered abuse and wage theft.

In accordance with a memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security October of last year, both ICE, CBP, and USCIS would develop strategies to prioritize workplace enforcement against unscrupulous employers and, through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, facilitate the participation of vulnerable workers in labor standards investigations, but has not yet been implemented.

Manifestation data

  • When: This Saturday, October 1
  • What time: From 8:00 am to 3:00 pm there will be a workers’ meeting at the Borough of Manhattan Community College; 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY
  • 4:00 pm: The march to the New York Department of Homeland Security office will begin at Washington Market Park: 199 Chambers Street
  • 5:00 pm: There will be a rally at the federal Immigration building at 26 Federal Plaza
  • For those who cannot attend the march, they can participate virtually through the live broadcast on Radio Jornalera NJ’s Facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/RadioJornaleraNJ/).
  • Who organized it: National Network of Organization of Day Laborers; day labor centers and workers’ rights organizations throughout the tri-state area.

What does the march against the Department of Homeland Security seek?

    • The Oct. 1 event is part of a campaign led by NDLON to inform workers of the Biden administration’s new policy, in which for more than a year, DHS has made promises that they will follow the guidelines of Federal Department of Labor (DOL) and other labor agencies, and create a process to provide deportation protections to immigrant workers who report labor abuses.
    • Protections against deportation (called Deferred Action) have already been won in several individual cases in states other than New York, but DHS has yet to put its promises into action.
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