May 5, 2005


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center and The Employment Law Center in San Francisco are very interested in learning of cases in which California employees who have asserted some labor or employment right have been turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Bureau by their employers in retaliation. We would construe “asserting a right” broadly, not only to include the actual filing of a civil or administrative complaint against their employer, but also informal complaints within the workplace. It would also include not just “complaints,” but also involvement in organizing activity, voting in favor of a union, testifying in a labor proceeding, or assisting other workers in bringing their own legal claims.

The only limitations on this information would be that it concern persons who have been picked up and/or detained by ICE (the new part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the old INS) in Kern County or any other California County that is north of Kern County (that is, the entire Central Valley, Bay Area, Northern California, etc).

We’re collecting this information as part of an effort to advocate for ICE to decrease its enforcement activities against employees who are turned into ICE in retaliation for asserting some labor or employment right. Additionally, for those employees who are detained, we will try to advocate for ICE to develop means through which complaining workers will not be inevitably subjected to immediate deportation because of an employer’s retaliatory tip to ICE but, instead, will have available some immigration benefit (such as deferred action for the pendency of their legal claims) that could serve to dampen immigrant workers’ fears of summary deportation in the event they invoke legal protections for unlawful workplace treatment. In this regard, compiling substantial numbers of incidents of retaliatory employer reporting would be very important in order to demonstrate the widespread nature of the problem.

Please contact ILRC’s Legal Director, Eric Cohen (ecohen@ilrc.org), if you have information of this kind that you would be willing to share with us in this effort. Thanks very much!

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