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James Introduces Bill to Protect Immigrant Workers from Retaliation

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced she has proposed a bill that would punish employers who retaliate against immigrant workers by threatening to disclose their immigration status to federal law enforcement.

 

Her legislation would preclude employers from contacting federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if the employee lodged a complaint about wage and hour violations. It would be codified into existing New York Labor Law so that retaliation would also include threatening to have a foreign-born employee deported. The bill would also prevent the employer from reporting the employee’s family.

 

Ms. James decided to introduce this legislation after she received reports from foreign-born workers receiving such threats from their employers. Her office also cited a report from the AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work Education Fund and the National Employment Law Project showing that immigrants are more susceptible than American-born workers to the following:

  • sexual harassment
  • wage theft
  • employee misclassification
  • exposure to workplace hazards

 

“New York State was built by immigrants and it has always stood proudly as a beacon of hope and opportunity no matter where you were born,” Ms. James said. “This legislation will represent a critical step toward protecting some of our most vulnerable workers by ensuring that they are not silenced or punished by threats related to their immigration status.”

 

If you believe that you are being threatened to be deported, it is important to consult the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer. The lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP are experienced in representing clients in visa, benefit, and petition matters, as well as deportation proceedings. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call our New York and New Jersey immigration lawyers at (212) 267-2555.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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