The PJ Tatler

Dem Concerned that ICE Enforcement Interfering with Union Organizing

D.C.’s delegate to Congress wants the Department of Labor to ensure that immigration enforcement isn’t being used to discourage workers from forming or joining unions.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) hosted a meeting earlier this month with representatives of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Labor Department, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, DC Jobs for Justice and constituents, and said she was alarmed to learn of union reports “their workers have been intimidated by their employers, which have threatened to call ICE to enforce immigration laws in response to ongoing labor disputes with the workers,” according to Norton’s office.

Norton sent letters today to ICE and the Labor Department, stating that “the laws and regulations that govern ICE are clear enough, but the practices of ICE are not clear to me.”

“She asked ICE for a response concerning current ICE practice when employers call in the name of a worker alleged to be undocumented, including how ICE determines if there is an ongoing labor dispute when they receive such a call,” Norton’s office said. “In her letter to DOL, she asked for a response regarding DOL’s actual practices on enforcing the labor and employment laws with regard to immigration status and reports from employers on undocumented workers, and how DOL works with ICE to ensure that ICE does not interfere with ongoing labor disputes.”

“I am hoping the responses from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Labor are enough to convince employees that their immigration status is not a factor to be considered in their ability to organize,” said Norton.