Mexican, U.S. Labor Officials Vow to Protect Immigrant Rights

AP, Nov. 8

ATLANTA—Officials with the U.S. Department of Labor and Mexico’s foreign ministry pledged today to protect the rights of immigrant workers—whether they are in this country legally or not.

Of concern at a meeting in Atlanta were issues such as fair pay and safe working conditions for immigrants. Peter Accolla of the Labor Department said it is NOT the department’s policy to penalize or expose workers.

Accolla joined Bosco Marti, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department’s point man on North American affairs, and Mexican consuls from across the United States. They were reviewing progress on two agreements between the countries.

One, signed in 2004, sought to increase safety for Hispanic workers in the U.S. The other, signed in May, aims at extending housing and rural development programs to immigrant agricultural workers.

Today initiative comes five days after the Department of Homeland Security’s announced a plan to reduce illegal immigration. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Marc Raimondi said today that if a company is hiring illegal aliens, authorities will go after them.

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