Whistleblower workers face deportation despite Obama administration policy
Josue Diaz was one of several who responded. But when Diaz and about 20 other immigrant workers asked for the same wages and safety gear given to American-born workers doing the same job, they wound up in police custody.
Diaz, an undocumented employee, was arrested while working for the clean-up company, on charges of theft that were later dropped. On Tuesday, an immigration court in New Orleans will decide whether Diaz and three co-workers may be ordered deported. The court could also give the men permission to remain in the United States because they acted as whistleblowers who stood up against workplace abuses.
Immigrant advocates argue that the case is but one of hundreds like it around the country. It brings into sharp relief the difference between the Obama administration’s promises and what Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices scattered around the country are actually doing each day. Nearly two years ago, the administration announced that ICE would protect workplace and civil rights whistleblowers such as Diaz, and focus more attention on problem employers and undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records. Authorities were directed to emphasize “prosecutorial discretion” in the cases of whistleblowers, the elderly and people who are the parents of young U.S. citizen children and do not have a criminal record. In essence, ICE officials were encouraged to place deportation cases against these individuals on indefinite hold. These cases were deemed “low priority,” and an unwise use of resources.
Read the full story at The Huffington Post