Skip to main content

Deferred Action

1. What is deferred action?

Deferred action protects noncitizen workers from threats of immigration-related retaliation from the exploitive employers. A person granted deferred action is considered lawfully present in the United States and they may be eligible for employment authorization if they demonstrate an economic necessity for employment. If granted, the deferred action period typically lasts for two years but may be terminated or may be extended at the discretion of the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

2. Who qualifies for deferred action?

Noncitizen workers who fall within the scope of a labor agency investigation, including an IDOL investigation.   

3. Will IDOL issue letters of support?

Yes, IDOL will review requests for letters of support and issue them on a case-by-case basis. If additional information is needed, IDOL will contact the requester for additional information.

4. Who can request a letter of support for deferred action through IDOL?

A request may be made by a worker or by an advocate or worker representative, when there is a pending labor dispute in a workplace. If there is no labor dispute pending, advocates may assist workers with filing a claim with IDOL and proceed to request a letter of support as needed. Requests may be made on behalf of a group of workers.

5. How do I request a deferred action letter of support from IDOL?

Workers who are experiencing a labor dispute at their worksite can request that IDOL submit a letter of support to DHS for immigration-related prosecutorial discretion.  IDOL will contact the requester with questions and/or additional information necessary to evaluate the request. Requests for a letter of support may be submitted to or call 312-793-1966.

6. What do I include in my request for a letter of support?

  • The worksite at issue
  • The labor dispute and how it relates to laws enforced by the labor agency.
  • Claim number if filed with IDOL.
  • Any coercion, retaliation, or threats of retaliation the worker(s) witnessed or experienced
  • How workers’ fear of potential immigration-based retaliation or immigration enforcement is likely to deter workers from reporting violations or cooperating with the labor agency in its enforcement capacity
  • Contact information for the requester or their representative

7. What NOT to include in my request for a letter of support?

Any identifying information of individual workers should NOT be included in these requests for letters of support. Please DO NOT include the following information:

  • Individual workers’ particular immigration histories or needs
  • Sensitive personally identifiable information, including dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, or Alien Registration Numbers

8. Will IDOL submit the letter of support to DHS?

IDOL may send both DHS and the requester the letter of support informing DHS that IDOL believes DHS’s use of its prosecutorial discretion for employee(s) at a particular worksite or employer is necessary for IDOL to effectively carry out its mission, and that therefore it supports workers’ requests for immigration-related prosecutorial discretion.

9. Where can I get more information?