WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today posted a Frequently Asked Questions document to provide workers experiencing a worksite labor dispute with guidance on how to seek the department’s support for their requests to the Department of Homeland Security for immigration-related prosecutorial discretion.
For the Department of Labor to carry out the laws its enforces, workers must feel free to participate in its investigations and proceedings without fear of retaliation or consequences related to their immigration status. The department has long supported DHS’ use of prosecutorial discretion – on a case-by-case basis – for certain workers subjected to abusive and exploitative labor practices.
For decades, the department has memorialized this relationship through agreements with immigration officials. The most recent 2011 Memorandum of Understanding between the departments of Labor and Homeland Security set forth ways in which the departments will work together to ensure that their respective civil worksite enforcement activities do not conflict, and ultimately advance each department’s mission. The MOU recognizes that effective enforcement of labor law is essential to ensure proper wages and working conditions for all covered workers regardless of immigration status, and that effective enforcement of immigration law is essential to protect the employment rights of lawful U.S. workers. In 2016, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published an addendum to the MOU.
Workers seeking the Department of Labor’s support to include as part of their request to DHS for prosecutorial discretion should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Request for Statement of DOL Interest.” In the email, workers or their advocates or representatives are encouraged to provide enough information for the department to identify the worksite that is the subject of the labor dispute and any related investigations or cases. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For more information on what to provide in these inquiries and the factors that the department will consider when deciding whether to provide a Statement of Department of Labor Interest in a worksite’s labor dispute, please review the FAQs.