POWER Act Reintroduced

November 5, 2015

Adela de la Torre, 202-384-1275, [email protected]

Empowering U.S. Workers with the POWER Act

WASHINGTON — The National Immigration Law Center applauds Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and her cosponsors for the reintroduction of the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act, which would protect the labor and civil rights of immigrant workers.

The POWER Act would remove the threat of deportation as a form of retaliation against workers who organize for safe working conditions and fair wages. It has the support of a broad and diverse cross-section of labor, civil rights, and immigrants’ rights organizations that, collectively, represent millions of working people across the United States.

Key provisions of the bill include expanding eligibility for U visas for workers who are involved in a workplace claim and who fear or have been threatened with force, physical restraint, serious harm, or other abuses. The POWER Act also would allow stays of removal and employment authorization for workers who have filed or are material witnesses in a workplace claim. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Our current immigration and labor systems provide a perverse incentive for abusive employers to exploit immigrant workers, undercutting honest employers who are trying to play by the rules and depressing working conditions for all workers. This is bad for our communities, our families, and our economy.

“These exploitative employers have a history of calling immigration agents when workers begin to assert their labor rights. The collusion between bad bosses and immigration agents interferes with labor rights and civil rights, and complaints about unpaid wages, sexual harassment, or dangerous working conditions are conveniently forgotten.

“In the absence of commonsense immigration reform, Congress must give serious consideration to the POWER Act. This sensible legislation will protect our economy, create a level playing field for employers, and promote fair wages and working conditions for all workers. The best way to hold abusive employers liable is to strengthen labor protections for immigrant workers who courageously take a stand against labor violations.”

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