Uplift and Protect the Rights of Immigrant Workers

All workers, regardless of immigration status, should have the opportunity to thrive in good jobs.

Fighting for Immigrant Workers' Rights

We envision a world where immigrants and their work are valued and respected. We fight against employers’ exploitation of undocumented workers, because we are working toward a good-jobs economy in which all workers have the power to assert their rights and shape a better future.

NELP fights for immigrant workers’ rights by centering undocumented workers’ needs; advocating for innovative policy solutions; and supporting immigrant worker–led campaigns for safe workplaces, freedom from employer retaliation, and higher job standards.

Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Force


of the total U.S. labor force are immigrants.


million workers in the U.S. labor force are undocumented.


of all immigrants, and most undocumented immigrants, work in underpaid jobs in industries such as agriculture, construction, food service, domestic work, and day labor.

Immigration Protections Uplift Workers’ Rights

Unscrupulous employers use workers’ immigration status to undermine the rights and the organizing efforts of undocumented and other immigrant workers.

NELP advocates alongside worker leaders for full access to a clear process for labor-based deferred action, which provides temporary protection from deportation and work authorization to workers involved in a labor dispute. This protection makes it easier for immigrant workers to report workplace abuses without fear that employers will use their immigration status to retaliate against them.

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NELP’s Immigrant Worker Justice Program

Undocumented workers are leading the movement to improve their workplace conditions and to build power. NELP’s Immigrant Worker Justice (IWJ) Program supports this work towards a more just country where all workers, regardless of their immigration status, assert their power in the workplace and thrive in good jobs. As a necessary piece of achieving this goal, the IWJ Program also advocates for a humane immigration system that centers racial justice and counters anti-Blackness.

We work with partners on the federal, state, and local levels to:

  • Support immigrant worker–led campaigns to build worker power and improve workplace conditions.
  • Advance policies that keep immigration enforcement out of the workplace, so immigrant workers can organize and exercise their rights without fear that employers will use their immigration status to retaliate against them.
  • Improve governmental agencies’ responsiveness and effectiveness in enforcing the rights of immigrant workers, especially those who are undocumented.
  • Expand immigrant workers’ rights and the remedies available for undocumented workers whose workplace rights are violated.

Labor standards cannot be enforced when employers can use workers’ immigration status as a tool to silence workplace complaints and lower labor standards for all.

Marisa Díaz, NELP Senior Staff Attorney