Conditions May Improve For Undocumented Workers Under New Agreement

May 27, 2014

Undocumented workers in Arizona can file federal complaints against their employers under a new agreement unveiled Tuesday by the Obama administration. It allows them to complain about an unsafe workplace without fear of deportation.

The agreement was announced by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Labor Relations Board and U.S. Department of Labor. It was signed by Mexican consul generals in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma. 

It allows undocumented immigrants to report unsafe work conditions, mistreatment and unpaid wages with guarantees that federal investigators will not check their legal status. 

Richard Martinez is a Tucson civil rights attorney and he said the policy is especially helpful for female workers.

"They find themselves incredibly vulnerable to verbal abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse and it’s very difficult to get them to come forward,” Martinez said.

He said the policy is modeled after another Obama administration program that protects undocumented immigrants who report domestic violence to federal authorities.