Judy Chu Intros Bill to Give Immigrant Workers POWER
Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) will introduce today legislation that will provide U Visa eligibility for immigrant workers who report unsafe or unfair labor practices. A “U Visa” is a nonimmigrant visa which is set aside for victims of crimes (and their immediate family members) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. Chu says The Protecting Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act will strengthen labor agencies’ investigative powers and allow a stay of removal and work authorization for workers who file a workplace claim. The bill comes as numerous cases of employers allegedly threatening to report workers to ICE after employees raise issues over working conditions, including wage theft. Other allegations have include employers demanding different documents than those required by federal immigration law or refusing to honor documents that appear genuine. Chu says under this bill, the worker who reports the illegal behavior will be eligible for protected status assuring that they can speak up against illegal business practices without fear of retaliation. Senator Robert Menéndez (D-NJ) is introducing the companion bill in the Senate. Read the text of the bill here.