The Freedom Network (USA) commends President Obama and the bipartisan group of senators for their efforts to engage in comprehensive immigration reform. As a coalition of experts on the scourge of human trafficking, we believe that a proposal to overhaul immigration laws deeply impacts the clients we serve. Creating a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants outright will provide immigrant workers with more economic security and make them less vulnerable to labor exploitation and human trafficking. Promoting family reunification and reducing family visa backlogs will protect the families of trafficked and exploited workers from retaliation from criminal perpetrators in their home country. Furthermore, we welcome a framework that includes protecting immigrant victims of crime and domestic violence through humanitarian relief.
It is our experience that increased enforcement efforts can lead to a chilling effect among the most exploited immigrants. Enhanced security may reverse the course of the government’s efforts to raise awareness in identifying potential trafficked persons. Additionally, temporary workers, regardless of industry, should have a path to legalization to reduce their susceptibility to exploitation and abuse. We look forward to collaborating with the administration and members of Congress in outlining this proposed legislation. See our policy recommendations on “Human Trafficking and Immigrant Rights.”