May 16, 2012

Key Recommendations

To the United States Congress

  • Pass the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill (S. 1925) or similar legislation that strengthens the U visa and other protection for immigrant victims of sexual violence, including farmworker women and girls.
  • Enact immigration legislation that would reduce the incidence of serious abuses of immigrant workers’ rights, including reform of the existing agricultural guestworker program and enactment of a program of earned legalization for unauthorized farmworkers already in the US.
  • Enact legislation to ensure equality of remedies for all workers who suffer workplace violations or seek to enforce workers’ rights, regardless of immigration status, and thereby rectify the Supreme Court’s decision in Hoffman Plastic.
  • Eliminate the exclusion of farmworkers from important labor protections like the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

To the US Department of Homeland Security

  • Repeal programs such as Secure Communities which require or encourage local police to enforce federal immigration laws.
  • Screen immigrants arrested in enforcement actions for eligibility for U and T visas and ensure that appropriate prosecutorial discretion policies, as outlined in Immigration and Customs Enforcement memoranda, are applied to them.

To the US Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

  • Increase agricultural workplace inspections and the civil and criminal penalties imposed on employers, within the limits allowed by law, to improve their compliance with relevant laws.

To All State Governments

  • Ensure that state laws fill gaps in federal labor protections for agricultural workers and provide alternatives to federal avenues for seeking redress for sexual harassment and other workplace abuses.

To Local Law Enforcement Agencies

  • Take all necessary and appropriate steps to assure immigrant communities that unauthorized immigrants who report crimes will not be reported to immigration authorities.

To Agricultural Employers

  • Create and enforce clear workplace policies prohibiting sexual violence and harassment, and create accessible channels by which employees can safely report violations.
  • Investigate every reported instance of sexual violence or harassment and take prompt corrective action to remedy the problem.