On November 20, 2014, the federal government announced the formation of the Interagency Working Group for the Consistent Enforcement of Federal Labor, Employment and Immigration Laws (Interagency Working Group or Group), comprised of the Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This Interagency Working Group builds on the existing relationships between the member departments and agencies and agreements such as the DOL and DHS Revised Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Enforcement Activities at Worksites (2011).
The Interagency Working Group's goals are to enhance coordination in those cases where federal responsibilities to enforce labor, employment, and immigration laws may overlap, to ensure that workers who cooperate with labor and employment enforcement may continue to do so without fear of retaliation, to ensure that unscrupulous parties do not attempt to misuse immigration enforcement or labor laws to thwart or manipulate worker protections or labor and immigration enforcement, and to ensure the effective enforcement of these laws.
In April 2015, the Interagency Working Group announced a six-month action plan and identified activities to initiate or complete. Over the last six months, members of the Interagency Working Group have worked together to make progress on these objectives. The members of the Interagency Working Group are committed to continuing this important work, value input from the public, and intend to further engage stakeholders in the near future. For the purposes of sharing progress made to date, the Interagency Working Group is providing the following updates.
Action Plan Updates
In the six-month action plan, the Interagency Working Group committed to providing clear explanations and methods for accessing any temporary or permanent immigration benefits or relief that may be available as the result of workplace violations or criminal activity in the workplace. In furtherance of this work, the members of the Interagency Working Group have conducted cross-training to learn about existing immigration relief that may be available to facilitate law enforcement. The following newly- updated guide will serve as a valuable resource for this work:
The Group also committed to providing clear guidance to employers on preventing retaliation against workers and clarifying their obligations to workers in the case of a workplace dispute. In furtherance of this commitment, the following documents have been released today:
The Group also agreed to facilitate formal communication and processes among Interagency Working Group members. The Interagency Working Group's meetings and cross-training on each other's respective legal enforcement authorities have strengthened interagency relationships at both the headquarters and field levels.
The Group agreed to identify procedures to ensure the respective civil authorities of its members do not conflict, and explore development of potential agreements or other procedures as appropriate. In furtherance of this work, the Group announces the following:
1 Group members may have additional information already available on these or related topics which are not contained on this document in an exhaustive form.