The Department of Homeland Security has created a streamlined process for considering deferred action requests from noncitizen workers who are victims of, or witnesses to, labor violations.

Key Points:

  • The streamlined process builds on DHS’ longstanding policy of considering deferred action on a case-by-case basis in order to protect employees from immigration-related retaliation if they cooperate with workplace investigations.
  • Requests for deferred action must include a letter from a federal, state or local labor agency asking DHS to consider deferred action on behalf of workers employed by companies subject to investigation.
  • Grants of deferred action will typically last for two years. Individuals who are granted deferred action may apply for employment authorization, provided they can show an economic necessity for employment and meet other eligibility criteria. Deferred action may be extended, depending on several factors, including the status of the investigation in question.

Additional Information: The new process is part of DHS’ worksite enforcement strategy announced in October 2021. As part of the strategy, DHS directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to “update policies to enhance the Department’s impact in supporting the enforcement of employment and labor standards.” More information, including an FAQ page, is available here on the DHS website.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact

Copyright © 2023 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact