Jun. 27, 2012
After DREAM Order, Fair Pay for Home Care Workers
New America Media has published an op ed by NELP Staff Attorney Eunice Cho in celebration of the 74th Anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act:
Earlier this month, immigrant communities around the country celebrated President Obama’s announcement that undocumented immigrant youth would be granted relief from deportation and temporary work authorization.
The new policy, however, reaches only a fraction of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of whom are left to live and work in the shadows. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that approximately 8 million unauthorized immigrants participated in the workforce in 2010 — around 5.2 perecent of the workforce. These workers tend to work in traditionally low-wage but high growth occupations such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and service industries, where workers face the greatest risk of exploitation.
As we celebrate the 74th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was passed in 1938 this week, we should recommit to ensuring that the most vulnerable workers — regardless of their national origin or immigration status — have protection from unscrupulous employers. Especially with decisions coming down like United States v. Arizona, which widens the door for racial profiling by local law enforcement, laws like FLSA become all the more important.
To continue reading, visit New American Media.Read More >
Jun. 26, 2012 | Posted by: Rebecca Smith
Seattle City Council first to pass a resolution in support of the Caring Across Generations
On Monday, Seattle became the first city in the United States to pass a resolution in support of the CAG campaign. The Council voted to unanimously support Resolution 31388, supporting the local and national Caring Across Generations campaign that seeks to transform long term care in the U.S., both to help the individuals who rely on these services and to support the workers who provide home care.
Activists packed the room in support of the resolution, presenting 3,000 signed postcards of support. The Council heard testimony from caregivers and care receivers, and from two of its own members who had recently spent a day in the shoes of a caregiver.Read More >
Jun. 25, 2012
NELP Applauds Court Opposition to Patchwork Immigration Laws, Warns Against Racial Profiling
Washington, DC – By a 5-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court today held in Arizona v. United States that most of the provisions of the state’s controversial anti-immigrant law are unconstitutional. The Court let stand a provision that requires police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they arrest, though the Justices left open the possibility of a future challenge to the effect this provision has in practice.
“Today the Court rejected the extreme view held by its dissenters that states can devise their own immigration policies,” said Christine Owens, Executive Director of the National Employment Law Project. “The Court based its decision in part on the necessity that our nation speak with one voice on immigration, and the danger that a patchwork system of immigration regulation poses to our foreign policy and our role in the world. In addition, the Court noted that the federal government is in the best place to evaluate these national priorities, including placing deportation of working immigrants low in its priorities. The Court denied the State of Arizona the ability to make work itself a criminal act.”Read More >
Jun. 22, 2012 | Posted by: Eunice Cho
Immigrant Worker News Updates, June 22, 2012
How Obama’s New Immigration Policy Will (May) Help Young Workers [Bloomberg]
Small Employers Welcome Work Permits for Young Immigrants [Wall Street Journal]
Obama Boxes In Republicans on Immigration [The Nation]
Why Obama’s New Immigration Policy is Good for the Economy [Care2]
Walmart Supplier Accused of Forced Labor Among Guestworkers [Fox]
Florida Governor Shifts Stance on Crack Down on Undocumented Immigrant Workers; Says Feds Should Develop Work Visa Program [The Republic]
Texas Republican’s Immigration Platform Change Getting Attention [Lubbock Online]
Minnesota Immigration Shift Mirrors National Debate [Star Tribune]
Midwest Farm Town, Transformed by Immigrant Workers, Thrives [Reuters]
Claudia Garate-House, Former Domestic Worker Who Challenged Abuse, Now a U.S. Citizen [SF Gate]Read More >
Jun. 21, 2012
New Report Highlights Need for Guestworker Reforms
WASHINGTON, D.C., —Employers have turned the H-2B visa program into the “ultimate tool” for undercutting U.S. workers and exploiting low-wage guestworkers, while corporate lobbyists block reforms that would level the playing field, a report released today by the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) says.
The report, entitled Leveling the Playing Field: Reforming the H-2B Program to Protect Guestworkers and U.S. Workers, was authored by the Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights on behalf of the NGA. It is available for download here.
The report highlights cases of exploitation from Texas to Tennessee, and calls for four indispensible reforms that would end employer abuse and protect both guestworkers and U.S. workers:
- Guaranteeing guestworkers the right to organize without fear of retaliation;
- Prohibiting employers from using guestworkers as cheap, exploitable alternatives to U.S. workers;
- Eliminating debt servitude and other elements of human trafficking in the program; and
- Subjecting employers to meaningful government enforcement and community oversight.