Protecting The Employment Rights Of Immigrants & Refugees

In response to the Trump Administration’s open hostility toward immigrants and refugees, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy has complied the following resources for free distribution to those who seek information about the President’s recent Executive Orders (EOs), have employment-specific questions regarding the rights of immigrants and refugees, or need a referral for additional immigration or refugee assistance.

The Institute thanks all of those on the ground working to defend America’s core values of liberty, freedom, and justice. At a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and disruption, providing people with access to appropriate legal resources is essential. The list below is by no means a comprehensive one. If you know of additional resources that should be added to this list, please email Elizabeth Colman, The Institute’s Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow, at


Trump Administration Executive Orders, Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry

On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed the Executive Order (EO), Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States, which restricts immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

On Thursday, February 9, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the Department of Justice’s emergency motion to stay a temporary restraining order (TRO) placed on the EO by a federal district court. For now, under the court order, implementation of the travel ban has been halted.

On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued a new version of his travel ban, also titled, Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States. The March 6 Executive Order (EO) closely mirrors the original version issued on January 27, 2017. However, there are some important differences:

  • The March 6, 2017 EO placed a 90-day travel restriction on foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) to the United States. The list of countries affected in the January 27 EO also included Iraq.
  • The March 6 EO was scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 am EST on March 16, 2017, at which time the January 27 EO would be revoked.
  • Unlike the January 27 EO, under the March 7 EO, green card holders, dual nationals holding a U.S. passport who are traveling from a non-designated country, immigrants who were issued a visa prior to January 27, 2017, and few other select categories of people would not be targeted.
  • The March 6 EO allows waivers to be granted at the discretion of a consular officer’s or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer’s discretion. While suggestions of circumstances where discretion could be appropriate were articulated in Section Three of the Order, the EO does not require that any particular factors must be considered by the border agents in making the determination to exercise their discretion. There are also no details on how to apply for a waiver.
  • Under the March 6 EO, Syrian refugees would no longer be indefinitely restricted from entry to the United States. However, all refugees’ admissions would be restricted for 120 days, beginning March 16, 2017. The EO also placed a cap on the total number of refugees to be granted admission to the United States at 50,000.

Update: On March 15, 2017, just hours before the March 6 EO was scheduled to become operative, the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii granted a nationwide Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining the EO from taking effect. The court found that the plaintiffs had a high likelihood of success on their claim that the March 6 EO violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

As a result of this court order, the March 6 EO has not been enacted as scheduled, and the January 27 EO has not been revoked as designed. However, because the injunction on the January 27 EO remains in place, neither version of the President’s travel ban has been given effect.

On March 29, 2017, that same court converted the TRO into a preliminary injunction, which will remain in place pending further legal action.



The National Immigration Law Center hosted a webinar on January 26, 2017 on President Trump’s immigration-related executive orders.

The Asian Law Caucus has drafted important Know Your Rights information on the Executive Order.

The Yale Law School Worker And Immigrant Rights Clinic has posted for public use all of the documents filed in Darweesh et al. v. Trump et al. (described below).

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild issued a practice advisory, Trump Administration Executive Order Outlining New Enforcement Priorities.

The American Immigration Council’s practice advisory, Challenging President Trump’s Ban on Entry, provides information about how the Executive Order is being implemented, offers resources and practice tips for attorneys whose clients are affected by it, and outlines legal challenges that have been filed to date.

U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement (CBP) posted new FAQs regarding the Executive Order.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association issued an updated practice alert on how the Executive Order is being implemented. Note that it does not yet take into account the CBP FAQs that were just issued (see above).

Refugee Center Online (RCO) provides information that is translatable into over a dozen languages that explain to refugees how the Executive Order will affect them.

The Immigrant Justice Network issued a preliminary summary and analysis regarding changes to interior immigration enforcement.


Cases Filed In Opposition To The Executive Order

The list of cases in opposition to the Executive Orders continues to grow. The University of Michigan Law School is currently maintaining a special collection of Civil Rights Challenges to Trump Immigrations/Refugee Orders. The collection operates as a clearinghouse for all known court challenges to the EOs, and provides case names, parties, copies of publicly-available court documents, and case status.

In his first week in office, in addition to the travel ban, President Trump signed two EO’s which have since been the basis for sweeping changes to deportation and immigration law enforcement. The EOs, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements and Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, expand the number of deportation officers, significantly increase the use of detention centers, and have led to increasingly heavy-handed, heartless tactics to be employed by immigration law enforcement officers. The University of Michigan Law School is also maintaining a legal clearinghouse for Civil Rights Challenges To Trump Immigration Enforcement Orders.


Employment Rights Of Immigrants & Refugees

The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy offers free of charge the written materials and accompanying audio recordings from its March 2013 seminar entitled, “United We Stand: Effectively Representing Immigrants In Employment Cases.”

The United States Department of Labor has guidance on the laws and regulations concerning immigration and employment.

The United States Department of Justice has published a fact sheet on Employment Rights and Resources for Refugees and Asylees, and has a dedicated webpage for immigrant worker information.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published information on immigrants’ employment rights under federal anti-discrimination laws.

The National Immigration Law Center has many resources focused on immigrant workers’ rights.

Legal Aid At Work (formerly Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center) offers this fact sheet for undocumented workers.

The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center has a fact sheet on Employment Discrimination Protections for Refugees and Asylees, and provides free access to their extensive Advocate Library.

The Pennsylvania Refugee Resettlement Program has dedicated part of their website to Legal Issues in Refugee Employment.

Mehreen Rasheed, an Associate at Katz, Marshall, & Banks, LLP, in her article, “Federal Agencies Reiterate That Anti-Retaliation Statutes Protect Workers Regardless of Immigration Status,” provides important context for a joint fact sheet by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board on January 10, 2017. The publication, “Fact Sheet: Retaliation Based on Exercise of Workplace Rights Is Unlawful” explains, among other things, how even those who lack authorization to work in the United States are still entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay if they do, in fact, perform work and that it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against those who lack proper documentation when they seek just compensation for their labor.


Legal Assistance & Resources For Immigrants & Refugees

The National Council of La Raza, which has 267 statewide and local affiliates that directly serve the Latino population across America, offers many Post-Election Resources.

American Civil Liberties Union has drafted many Know Your Rights resources germane to immigration rights.

Urban Justice Center – International Refugee Assistance Project provides legal services and protection to refugees in need.

The American Immigration Council issued this Practice Advisory on Inspection, Entry, and Admission (October 2015).

The Asian Law Caucus (ALC) provides significant Know Your Rights information on Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) issues. For times of free legal clinics please visit their 100 Days Of Justice website. Resources on the site include the following (some of the resources are specific to California):

  • Deportation Defense Guides:Deportation Defense” guides in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
  • TRUTH Act Pocket Guides: Downloadable pocket guides on the California TRUTH Act, which became effective on January 1, 2017. The TRUTH Act requires that local law enforcement inform immigrants of their right to remain silent prior to any interview by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You can also find downloadable pocket guides on the California TRUST Act, which has been law since 2014. The TRUST Act places limits on when local law enforcement can hold immigrants in local jail for extra time for immigration enforcement.
  • Statewide “ICE Out of CA Hotline”: Community members can call the ICE out of CA hotline at 1-844-878-7801 to report a raid in California or if they or a loved one was transferred from a local jail to ICE.
  • California Values Act: This is a pending state bill (2017 legislative cycle) that limits use of state and local resources and personnel for immigration enforcement. A bill analysis can be found on the California Legislative Information website. Creedo has started a petition in support of the bill.
  • Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim & South Asian (AMEMSA) Resources:
    ALC’s National Security & Civil Rights Program provides free direct legal services to AMEMSA communities.
  • “Know Your Rights” In Person Trainings For AMEMSA Communities: ALC’s National Security & Civil Rights staff can provide you and your community with “Know Your Rights” trainings. ALC has conducted specific trainings for the community at local Mosques, Gurdwaras, community centers, festivals, and other community meetings. Please call Community Advocate Jehan Hakim for more information (Tel: (415) 848-7706).
  • Know Your Rights For AMEMSA Communities When Interacting With The FBI: ALC has materials for AMEMSA communities in English and Arabic on how to be safe when interacting with FBI.
  • Know Your Rights For Children In AMEMSA Communities: In line with ALC’s work to pass the Safe Place to Learn Act (AB 2845), which provides resources to address school bullying for AMEMSA youth in California, the Council on American-Islamic Relations publish guides for youth rights, safety, and bullying at school.
  • The International Rescue Committee, founded at Albert Einstein’s request in the wake of World War II, specializes in ushering refugees to safety.
  • No One Left Behind helps Afghan and Iraqi combat interpreters with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) resettle safely in the United States.

Appleseed Network’s Immigration Collaborative has generated several useful publications, including Getting Off the Assembly Line: Overcoming Immigration Court Obstacles in Individual Cases and Protecting Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation.

To defend against ICE raids and community arrests, the Immigrant Defense Project and the Center for Constitutional Rights is freely distributing their ICE Raids Toolkit.

The International Refugee Rights Initiative provides many resources on refugee rights and has compiled a United States of America Pro Bono Directory for those seeking free legal aid.

Immigration Law Help may be able to help low-income immigrants find an attorney.

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