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NDHS Announces Process Enhancements for the Deferred Action Program Protecting Undocumented Workers from Retaliation for Reporting Labor Law Violations

Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action (deportation) against a noncitizen for a certain period of time. Although deferred action does not confer lawful status or excuse any past or future periods of unlawful presence, a noncitizen granted deferred action is considered lawfully present in the United States for certain limited purposes while the deferred action is in effect.

The DHS Public Affairs Office has announced a centralized process for submitting deferred action requests. Recipients of deferred action qualify for issuance of DHS Work Authorization.

The new centralized, streamlined procedure calls for the worker or the labor enforcement agency to submit the following information to the USCIS Deferred Action unit in Montclair, California:

— A written request signed by the noncitizen stating the basis for the deferred action request;

— A letter or statement of interest from a labor or employment agency supporting the request;

— Evidence to establish that the worker falls within the scope identified in the labor or employment agency letter, such as W-2s, pay stubs, time cards, or other documentary evidence to demonstrate that the worker was employed during the period identified in the labor or employment agency statement

— Evidence of any additional factors supporting a favorable exercise of discretion;

— Proof of the noncitizen’s identity and nationality;

— If applicable, any document used to lawfully enter the United States or other evidence relating to the noncitizen’s immigration history or status;

— Form G-325A, Biographic Information (for Deferred Action);

— Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the appropriate fee or request for a fee waiver; and

— Form I-765WS, Worksheet.

DHS has committed to expedited processing of deferred action requests. If a request is granted it applies for up to two years during the pendency of labor enforcement proceedings, subject to extension for good cause shown. Victims of retaliation may also qualify for permanent residence under the U and T visa programs. A grant of deferred action allows undocumented workers to remain in the United States during the adjudication process which requires a recommendation from a qualified civil or criminal enforcement agency, including labor standards enforcement agencies.

The enhancement process is in furtherance of DHS Policy Statement 065-06, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual” (October 12, 2021) and adopted pursuant to the Executive Order Establishing the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment (April 26, 2021).

#immigration #employment #enforcement