OF SAFETY ENGINEERS
1800 East Oakton Street
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-2187
August 16, 2005
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
RE: Impersonation of OSHA Personnel in Immigration Enforcement
Dear Mr. Snare:
On behalf of its 30,000 member safety, health and environmental (SH+E) professionals, the American Society of Safety Engineers would like to express support for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) efforts to ensure that the widely reported impersonation of OSHA personnel by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Bureau is not repeated.
Our members can attest to how difficult it is to reach out to immigrant workers with occupational safety and health information and training because of their fears that anything possibly related to OSHA can lead to immigration enforcement efforts. Until now, those fears have been largely unfounded as government, employers, labor and SH+E professionals have all agreed that workers, no matter their immigration status, deserve safe and healthy workplaces. ICE's activities in this case have only fulfilled immigrants' worse fears.
While ASSE can appreciate that the ICE has a legal responsibility to enforce this nation's immigration laws, the reality is that some industries that pose unique risks to worker safety and health like construction and manufacturing rely heavily on immigrant populations that no doubt include undocumented aliens. Given the wide range of ways the US immigration laws can be enforced, enforcement that sends the message that occupational and health and safety efforts may end in deportation only makes workplaces more dangerous for all workers. That is an unacceptable outcome.
While it has been reported that ICE will not continue these efforts, we hope that OSHA will remain diligent and build a relationship with ICE that will help ensure this result. If ASSE and its members across the country can be helpful in working with OSHA to rebuild trust among immigrant workers following this incident, we would be more than happy to do so.
Jack H. Dobson, Jr., CSP
The Honorable Michael Chertoff
Department of Homeland Security
Michael J. Garcia
Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement