Protecting Immigrant Communities: The Role of Federal Agencies
This webpage provides resources on several federal agencies involved in the enforcement and regulation of industries which impact the lives of immigrants in the United States. Whether it's the Department of Labor enforcing labor laws which protect documented and undocumented immigrants or regulating industries to ensure appropriate and fair labor standards, or the Federal Trade Commission and its ability to protect immigrant consumers from fraudulent activities, federal agencies carry out their law enforcement mandate for an increasingly diverse population.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Department of Labor
Federal Trade Commission
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- The Bureau’s website offers information to consumers in nine languages, including Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. Links to the these pages can be found on the CFPB homepage. They include information about the CFPB, complaint line information, and remittance rule information.
- In May 2013, the Bureau launched AskCFPB in Spanish. AskCFPB is an interactive online tool that gives consumers answers to questions about financial products and services.
Language Access Plan
- CFPB proposed a comprehensive language access plan which would provide language access to millions of non-native English speakers to various resources including: CFPB's complaint system, consumer guides and tools in various languages.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Spanish Language Resources
- From DOL Webpage: "The Department of Labor (DOL) is strongly committed to the well-being of the Hispanic workforce. The following list highlights some of the Department's Spanish resources. This list is intended for English-speaking audiences who are looking for information in Spanish about DOL missions to share with the Hispanic community. Please contact the agencies or visit their Web pages for more multilingual materials."
Department of Labor’s Misclassification Initiative
- Launched under Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force, the initiative seeks to combat this pervasive issue on a national level and restore crucial employee rights to those denied them. According to the AFL-CIO, misclassification is especially high in jobs and industries with high concentrations of immigrant workers and women "such as day labor, delivery and trucking, child care, home-based work and construction." In September 2011, former Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a major step forward with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Under this agreement, the agencies will work together and share information to reduce the incidence of misclassification of employees, to help reduce the tax gap, and to improve compliance with federal labor laws. Additionally, labor commissioners and other agency leaders representing twenty-seven states (as of March 2016) have signed MOUs with the Department’s Wage and Hour Division, and in some cases, with its Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the Office of the Solicitor. The U.S. Labor Department is actively pursuing MOUs with additional states as well. These MOUs will enable the U.S. Labor Department to share information and to coordinate enforcement efforts with participating states in order to level the playing field for law-abiding employers and to ensure that employees receive the protections to which they are entitled under federal and state law. Employers that misclassify their employees may not be paying the proper overtime compensation, FICA and Unemployment Insurances taxes, or workers' compensation premiums.
Wage and Hour Division Administered Immigration Programs
U and T Visa Certifications
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Federal Trade Commission v. Loma International Business Group Inc., Civil Action No. MJG-11-1483 (D. Md. 2013).
- A federal district court in Baltimore affirmed the legal precedent that engaging in a business activity is an implied representation of the legal ability to do so. In that case, Mr Alban had assisted over 1000 individuals file Temporary Protection Status (TPS) applications with USCIS. Because he was not an attorney and was not otherwise authorized to represent individuals before USCIS, his implied representation that he was legally authorized to provide immigration services was false.
Immigration Toolkit at consumer.gov
- A collection of resources to help immigrant communities with various consumer protection problems. The resource was produced in collaboration with the following organizations: Access to Justice Initiative, Department of Justice; Ayuda; Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Council for Court Excellence; Federal Trade Commission; Legal Aid Justice Center; Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition; Securities and Exchange Commission; US Citizenship and Immigration Services
- As part of FTC's ongoing effort to raise awareness about scams targeting the Latino community, FTC has developed a series of “fotonovelas” in Spanish. The stories are based on complaints to the FTC from Spanish speakers throughout the nation and offer practical tips to help detect and stop common scams. Consumers can order copies of the fotonovelas — for free — and distribute them in their community.
Press Release, Federal Trade Commission, FTC Combats Immigration Services Scams (June 9, 2011)
U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES
Avoid Scams webpage
- USCIS webpage provides a host of materials and links to educate and inform potential consumers of immigration services fraud. Materials include links to state attorneys general websites, where consumers seeking immigration services can file complaints against unscrupulous actors.