Labor & Employment Committee Launches Training Program for Immigrant Workers

By Setareh Ghandehari and Henry Willis, NLG Labor and Employment Committee

As part of its overall war against immigrants and immigrants’ rights, the Trump Administration has attempted to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people from various countries, including Haiti, El Salvador, Nepal, Sudan, Honduras, and Nicaragua while the conditions that lead to the TPS designation persist. Working Families United (WFU), a coalition of unions including UNITE HERE, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the Ironworkers, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, The United Food and Commercial Workers, the Teamsters, and the Laborers International Union of North America, has organized to save TPS and protect their members.

WFU, members of the National TPS Alliance, and other advocates have been working hard on various fronts to protect TPS recipients. Including litigation, which led to an automatic extension until 2020 for many TPS recipients and legislative advocacy. Most recently, the coalition had a hard-fought win when the House passed the Dream and Promise Act. While the Act is not perfect, it would give DACA recipients, TPS recipients and DED recipients a pathway to citizenship. It’s a step in the right direction, though it faces a significant hurdle passing in the Senate.

While the fight for a permanent solution continues, WFU wants to serve its members who are facing TPS related challenges now. WFU approached the Guild’s Labor and Employment Committee last year for help:

  • organizing clinics to assist TPS holders in finding alternate forms of immigration relief,
  • training union and community organizers on preparing and responding to raids and audits from both labor and employment, and immigration angles so that organizers and lawyers can spot issues on both fronts, and
  • developing up-to-date materials for both the clinics and the trainings.

With local partners we have already hosted clinics in Los Angeles, the DMV, and Long Island, NY; we are planning more for New Jersey, Orlando and Houston.

The next phase will be organizing a workplace raid training for worker advocates. We are looking now for Guild members (both labor and immigration lawyers and legal workers) who can help put on this training or are interested in joining a rapid response network, similar to the ones that the Guild, the ACLU and other immigrants’ rights groups have organized in many communities.

If you are interested in working on this project contact Setareh Ghandehari at nlglabor@ or Henry Willis at ■