You are currently viewing Deferred Action for Labor Enforcement

You may be eligible for deferred action labor enforcement, “DALE”,  if you are in removal proceedings and you witnessed, or have been a victim of, violations in your workplace and/or labor rights. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created a streamlined process for prosecutorial discretion including but not limited to deferred action, parole in place, and work authorization on behalf of workers impacted by the labor dispute.

The NJ Department of Labor supports prosecutorial discretion for all workers, former and current, employed by these employers named above. 

What is deferred action for labor enforcement?

Noncitizen workers frequently are victims of workplace or labor violations.  Certain companies that hire undocumented or “irregular” workers violate their rights, which is a breach of federal and state labor laws.

Because some workers are undocumented, they do not speak up or organize themselves to advocate for their rights out of fear of retaliation by the employer, who may threaten the workers with deportation for example. 

DALE program for workers

The government, through its labor department, investigates and prosecutes companies that engage in abusive behavior against employees. 

While the government is investigating, they may refer matters to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security in support of any request for prosecutorial discretion, and issue temporary protection from deportation for workers who might assist them with the investigation.

examples of how employers can violate a worker’s rights

  • Paying less than minimum wage or prevailing wage
  • Illegally deducting costs and other fees from wages, reduced earned sick leave
  • Other wage theft
  • Recordkeeping violations
  • Child labor violations
  • Protections against retaliation
  • Failing to pay overtime 
  • Maintaining unsafe workplace conditions- either forcing someone to work in a dangerous environment with unsafe machinery or turning a blind eye to workplace abuse or threats against a worker.
  • Failing to maintain proper worker’s compensation insurance 
  • Issuing fraudulent records or pay stubs to its workers

Should I apply for deferred action? 

If you are eligible, a grant of deferred action means that you will receive temporary protection from immigration, and you may be eligible to receive employment authorization, which allows you to apply for many U.S. jobs while you are in this protected status. 

Am I eligible for deferred action?

To be eligible for deferred action, a worker must be involved in an open investigation at a labor agency and fall within the group of workers described in the labor agency letter.  The labor agency must submit a letter of interest  (“Statement of Interest”) to the DHS in support of deferred action for that worker. 

Or, if you discover that you are working at a company that is the subject of a labor investigation, contact a licensed immigration attorney, or visit USCIS for more information. 

If you feel that your labor rights are being violated, reach out to an immigration or labor rights attorney to discuss the circumstances relating to your matter. 

What does deferred action not do?

Deferred action does not grant lawful permanent resident status. 

metal industry female worker

Do I automatically get deferred action status if I work or worked for a company that is being investigated? 

No. You must file a request with USCIS and USCIS will approve you on a case-by-case basis. 

How long does deferred action last for? 

It can be granted for a period of up to two years. 

Is deferred action renewable?

At the moment no, but this may change, depending on how long the labor investigation takes. 

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow them on on Twitter,  Instagram, YouTube, and  Facebook

Do I need an immigration attorney in order to file for Deferred Action?

We strongly recommend that you seek the services of a qualified immigration attorney before applying for deferred action. Because deferred action protection is a discretionary decision by the government, they weigh what they see as positive considerations against negative considerations.

For example, the statement of interest is a major positive consideration. Criminal convictions are a negative consideration, and increase the risk of denial. However people with criminal convictions have been approved in many cases. 

That is why you should ensure your application is properly filed and includes the correct documentation. A properly filed application will save you time and prevent potentially costly mistakes.

At Curbelo Law our fully bilingual staff has years of experience helping immigrants and their families. Please call our office at 201 379-4040 today. 


If you are or were employed with these companies you may be eligible for immigration protection.