On Friday, January 13, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a streamlined and expedited process for labor and employment agency-related requests for deferred action, as part of an effort to support labor law enforcement operations to empower workers and improve workplace conditions.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) publicly issued guidance in November 2021 as to how immigrant workers could seek the NLRB’s support in petitioning for deferred action, or for other relief, to protect them in the exercise of their statutory rights and allow for vigorous enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) (see GC 22-01, issued Nov. 8, 2021). The NLRB has since made such requests to DHS to support NLRB enforcement efforts.

General Counsel Abruzzo applauded today’s announcement from DHS, noting that “the enhancements to DHS’s processes are critical to ensuring that immigrant workers, and all workers, can safely exercise their labor rights and participate in the NLRB’s enforcement operations without fear of immigration-related retaliation from their employer. I will continue to utilize DHS’s processes to the fullest extent necessary to ensure that we can effectively enforce labor law in every workplace where workers are protected by the National Labor Relations Act.”

The NLRB has also issued a fact sheet, in English and Spanish, with important information about NLRB investigations for immigrant workers, which makes clear that immigration status is not relevant to whether there has been a violation of the NLRA, that information obtained during NLRB investigations is protected, and that the NLRB will consider, on a case-by-case basis, seeking protection for employees at worksites where it is necessary to safeguard employees exercising their labor rights or participating in NLRB processes.

Workers or their advocates who believe deferred action is necessary for participation in the NLRB’s processes or to protect employees exercising their rights under the NLRA at a worksite should contact their NLRB Regional Office.

Learn more about the NLRB by visiting its English and Spanish websites or by calling 1-844-762-6572. Spanish speaking workers can leave a confidential voicemail in Spanish with their name, phone number, city and state of their employers, and a brief message, and one of the NLRB’s bilingual Board agents (or a Board agent with an interpreter) will call back.

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