By Rebecca Smith, Staff Attorney & West Coast Coordinator, National Employment Law Project
By now, it goes without saying that the Obama Administration inherited a set of failed immigration enforcement policies and a broken immigration system. In the past several years, newspapers have carried horror stories about workplace raids carried out by immigration agents, in which immigrants arrested for the crime of working without papers have been paraded through court and summarily deported.
Much less ink has been devoted to the ways in which these raids undermined both their specific objective of ensuring compliance with immigration laws, and the equally important goal of enforcing workers' labor rights. Drawing from reported cases, this week the AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work and the National Employment Law Project released a report detailing how, in case after case, employers were able to use the immigration status of their workers as a bludgeon to avoid labor claims.