The fear of deportation should not subvert basic human rights

A suburb of Nashville recently issued a proclamation that ostensibly affirms the city’s commitment to upholding federal immigration laws. However, some immigration advocates may infer a different meaning.

By a 5-0 vote, commissioners in the city of Mt. Juliet recently passed a resolution that draws sharp distinctions between legal and undocumented immigrants. For example, the proclamation affirms that city officials will continue to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. So-called “sanctuary cities,” in contrast, use policies to limit such collaboration.

One immigration rights commentator has concerns. For starters, the proclamation is not enforceable legislation. Consequently, it seems that city officials wanted to send a message to residents, rather than actually create a new law or regulation. The commentator believes that message is one of fear, forecasting an environment where undocumented immigrants may be at risk of deportation simply for interacting with city institutions like the police or fire department, health services or even the public school system.

Our immigration and employment law firm has helped many undocumented immigrants who have fears about their rights. We have seen the injustices in the workplace that many undocumented immigrants must face. For example, employers may use the threat of deportation to mistreat or deny basic employment rights to an undocumented immigrant worker.

Our law firm believes that all workers deserve to benefit from basic employment rights and workplace safety measures. For example, laws against discrimination or harassment should apply to all workers, as should rights like a basic minimum wage and safety standards in compliance with regulations set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. If you are an undocumented immigrant worker suffering from such injustices, contact our Nashville immigration law office to learn more about your rights.

Source: The Tennessean, “Mt. Juliet commission: 'Illegal immigrants impose burdens' on city,” Andy Humbles, Dec. 1, 2016

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