JUNE 18, 2012
In its ongoing effort to protect illegal immigrants in the U.S. workforce, the Obama Department of Labor (DOL) keeps entering “partnership agreements” with foreign countries vowing to preserve the rights of their migrants.
It’s one of several initiatives launched by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, a former California congresswoman with close ties to the influential La Raza movement, to assist undocumented workers in this country. Under Solis the DOL even created a special division to enforce labor and wage laws in industries that typically hire illegal aliens without reporting anyone to federal immigration authorities.
The DOL also created a wasteful, bilingual smartphone app to help hourly workers “stand up for their rights” and file complaints against employers. A Judicial Watch investigation uncovered a scandal behind this particular program by exposing that a former DOL official got a noncompetitive contract—intended for socially and economically disadvantaged businesses—to create the app even though his lucrative company doesn’t qualify because its rakes in millions annually.
In the last year Solis has entered formal agreements with Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and India vowing to protect the rights of migrants from those countries who work in the United States. Under the decrees, DOL regional offices team up with local embassies and consulates from the foreign countries to distribute information to their citizens about their “rights” in the U.S.
This month, in a ceremony at DOL headquarters in Washington D.C., Solis entered similar agreements with Honduras, Peru, Ecuador and the Philippines. “Migrant workers make important contributions to our economy,” Solis said, adding that the contracts will “help ensure these workers are aware of the right to safe workplaces and to receive full payment of the wages owed to them under the laws of the United States.”
Much like the first batch of contracts, regional DOL enforcement offices will team up with local consulates to assist workers and together they’ll reach out to migrants with information about U.S. health, safety and wage laws. The “cooperation” will also help both agencies identify problems faced by migrant workers and target labor law enforcement efforts, according to a DOL announcement.
Honduras’s ambassador called it an “important step” that will “promote the respect and defense of migrant workers’ rights.” Peru’s ambassador said the agreements will help “ensure the enforcement of fundamental human rights and responsibilities in the workplace.”
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