Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent letters to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), following reports from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and DC Jobs for Justice that their workers have been intimidated by their employers, which have threatened to call ICE to enforce immigration laws in response to ongoing labor disputes with the workers. The report came at a meeting Norton hosted earlier this month with ICE, DOL, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, DC Jobs for Justice and constituents.
Norton, in her letter to ICE, wrote, "The laws and regulations that govern ICE are clear enough, but the practices of ICE are not clear to me." She asked ICE for a response concerning current ICE practice when employers call in the name of a worker alleged to be undocumented, including how ICE determines if there is an ongoing labor dispute when they receive such a call. In her letter to DOL, she asked for a response regarding DOL's actual practices on enforcing the labor and employment laws with regard to immigration status and reports from employers on undocumented workers, and how DOL works with ICE to ensure that ICE does not interfere with ongoing labor disputes.
"I am hoping the responses from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Labor are enough to convince employees that their immigration status is not a factor to be considered in their ability to organize," said Norton.