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The COSH Network Stands in Support of Immigration Reform!

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) calls on Congress to pass comprehensive and humane immigration reform in 2013, as set forth in the Labor Movement’s Framework for Comprehensive Reform.

The delays and inaction by our government in establishing a citizenship pathway for 11 million undocumented immigrants stand as a major obstacle in efforts to ensure safe and healthy workplaces for all. Immigrant workers have played a vital role in the workforce, economy, culture and communities of the United States, and we must reform our immigration system to make it possible for them to fully integrate into the nation’s social and economic structures, with all the rights and responsibilities entailed in full integration. This inclusive approach is the only solution consistent with our nation’s values of fairness and equality. Specifically, the COSH Network urges Congress to enact immigration reform legislation that includes:

  • Creating a Roadmap to First-Class Citizenship for the 11 Million Aspiring Americans. Immigration reform must include a clear and smooth road to full citizenship for those currently living under threat of deportation, as well as for those seeking to reunite with their families.
  • Establishing Full Labor and Workplace Rights and Protections for All Workers Regardless of Immigration Status.   Immigration reform must promote shared prosperity and strengthen the U.S. economy by establishing and enforcing full labor and workplace rights and protections for all workers, regardless of immigration status, including in the areas of health and safety, wage and hour, antidiscrimination, and the right to organize.   All labor and workplace rights and protections should continue to apply to individuals during the transition period while in provisional immigration status.
  • Protecting Workers from Immigration-Based Employer Retaliation.   Congress should include the POWER Act in immigration reform legislation, which would strengthen and streamline access to U-visas for any individual who has filed a workplace claim or who is a material witness in any pending or anticipated proceeding involving a workplace rights claim, and would expand grounds for U-visas to include victims of employer retaliation, including through the use of retaliatory I-9 employer self-audits.
  • Maintaining Due Process And Worker Protections (E Verify).  We strongly oppose a federal requirement that all employers use E Verify because of the program’s database error rates, lack of worker protections, lack of due process, insufficient privacy protections, and the significant amount of employer misuse of the program. Any mandatory electronic employment eligibility verification regime should, at a minimum, address these concerns.
  • Reforming Worksite Immigration Enforcement to Protect Workers’ Rights.   Congress should codify and strengthen existing ICE policies aimed at preventing employers from manipulating the immigration system to retaliate against workers who have come forward to assert their workplace rights, and that provide interim protections to such workers whose employers have placed them in danger of deportation.
  • Halting the Expansion of Temporary and Guest Worker Programs and Ensuring Existing Programs Do Not Undermine Workers’ Rights.   Because both temporary and guest workers lack the basic freedom to change jobs if they experience workplace exploitation and instead risk retaliation, blacklisting and deportation if they challenge abuses, we do not support any new guest worker programs.   The U.S. Department of Labor should ensure that employers who currently sponsor temporary and guest workers provide healthcare and maintain safe, humane, and fair workplaces.   All temporary and guest workers should be free to seek employment with different employers through portable visas, have full labor and workplace rights and protections, and have access to a roadmap to citizenship independent of employment verification by a specific employer.