Labor Department’s Migrant Worker Protections Misfire

Press Releases

November 14, 2023

IRLI’s attorneys group comments on proposal’s flaws

WASHINGTON—Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA), a project of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), has filed a public comment to a proposed rule change by the Department of Labor (DOL) called “Improving Protections for Workers in Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States.” In this proposal, DOL declares that its aim is to protect foreign migrant laborers from abuse by their employers.
To that end, DOL proposes added enforcement of existing migrant-protection rules through site visits and revocation of employer visa petitions for noncompliance. But, as AUSA points out, these proposals are so vague and lacking in detail that it is hard to see what they would actually accomplish. Similarly, DOL purports to crack down on inappropriate third-party staffing of migrants, but fails to set forth any means of verifying that these third parties are what they claim to be, and are not, in fact, human traffickers. And the proposed rule, through its title refers to protecting temporary agricultural workers in general, has another glaring omission: it provides no protections for American laborers.
“Protecting foreign laborers in the United States on visas from abusive employment practices is a worthy goal,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “But this proposal furthers it very little, while doing nothing for American seasonal farm workers and nothing to stop human trafficking. We recommend that the Labor Department withdraw and redo this proposal so that it better achieves the purposes of the legislative programs it is supposed to implement.”
The proposed rule is DOL Docket No. ETA-2023-0003: Improving Protections for Workers in Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States.

Get Connected

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date with immigration reform in the United States.

Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA) is a non-partisan affiliation of talented attorneys dedicated to pursuing cases that serve the national interest when it comes to immigration law.

If you are interested in joining the network, visit the AUSA website.