The MinKwon Center for Community Action has worked with the Governor’s office from the beginning of this process to ensure that the coming changes would protect vulnerable immigrant workers as well as supporting immigrant small-business owners. In the final weeks of the legislative session, the MinKwon Center pushed to improve the language in the proposed bill by eliminating language that leads to the criminalization of employers for hiring non-registered trainees or unlicensed workers. With strong advocacy by the MinKwon Center and other advocates, this language that would have led to unintended consequences in the workforce was eliminated in the final version of the proposed bill.
“Real change in the industry is possible,” said Grace Shim, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action. “We must continue to develop comprehensive and sensible solutions by educating both owners and workers, making laws more accessible especially among limited-English-proficient small business owners, and regulating toxic substances used in the industry. Finally, we must fix our broken immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship for the many undocumented workers. To do anything otherwise creates a perpetual underclass of easily exploited immigrant workers.”