Policy Update: New DHS Guidance Regarding Immigrant Workers and Protection from Deportation
On January 13, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released new guidance about a new process for immigrant workers that will greatly beneﬁt immigrant workers, including survivors who experience harm or discrimination in the workplace. In this new process, immigrant workers can apply for temporary protection from deportation (and for work authorization) if they are victims of, or witnesses to, labor exploitation, which can include sexual assault and sexual harassment or human trafﬁcking, in the workplace.
This action alert explains both the new DHS guidance and the processes outlined by labor agencies for workers to request their support in seeking prosecutorial discretion from DHS. This relief is discretionary, meaning that it could be denied even if an immigrant worker is otherwise eligible for the protection. As eligible immigrant workers may be vulnerable to immigration enforcement because of prior orders of removal, criminal legal system contacts, and other immigration violations, all are encouraged to consult with an immigration attorney before submitting any applications for relief covered by this guidance.