Immigrant Worker Justice Project

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Facts for Documented and Undocumented Workers Helping to Clean-up and Rebuild the Gulf Coast Region


All workers, including documented and undocumented immigrant workers, are protected by many U.S. employment and labor laws. Rights that may apply to workers depending upon the circumstances include:

Right to be paid. In most instances, workers have the right to be paid minimum wage ($5.15 an hour) and to receive overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week. If workers do not receive all of the wages for the time they actually worked, they can take action to recover those wages.

Right to be free of discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against or harass workers based on race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin or sex.
Right to organize. In most workplaces, it is illegal for an employer to punish or threaten workers for organizing with others to improve their working conditions.

Right to be safe on the job. Workers are protected by workplace health and safety laws at their worksites.

Right to benefits if injured on the job. In most states, workers who are injured on the job are entitled to the protections of state workers’ compensation laws.

Right to unemployment payments. In most states workers who are fully or partially unemployed, looking for work, and have valid work documentation are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.


Additional information for documented and undocumented workers helping to clean-up and rebuild the Gulf Coast region attached below.

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Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN): Practical Guidelines for Individuals

What is an ITIN?

ITIN stands for Individual Tax Identification Number. It is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who do not qualify for a Social Security Number (SSN). The ITIN always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit. For example: 9XX-7X-XXXX.

An ITIN permits individuals without a valid Social Security Number (SSN) to:

  • Pay taxes (report their annual earnings to the IRS)
  • Open an interest-bearing bank account.

Can an ITIN be used for work purposes?
No. An ITIN cannot be used to show work authorization. The purpose of the ITIN is to assist individuals without a SSN to pay their taxes and/or open an interest-bearing bank account. Note: ITINs do not entitle the recipient to Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Who needs an ITIN?

  • Individuals that earn income in the U.S. and must file a U.S. tax return but do not have a SSN. (According to U.S. law, unless your income is exceedingly low, you are legally required to file an income tax return.)
  • Spouses and dependents that are listed on a U.S. tax return but do not have a SSN. (Spouses and dependents must fill-out separate Forms W-7 and submit them together with the principal taxpayer.)
  • Individuals that would like to open an interest-bearing bank account but do not have a SSN.

Does the use of an ITIN indicate that the applicant is undocumented?
No. The ITIN is available to a range of foreign-born persons that are not eligible for SSNs. The IRS has stated repeatedly that an ITIN does not create an inference about an individual’s immigration status.

How does an individual apply for an ITIN?
Individuals must complete IRS Form W-7, “Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer
Identification Number.” This Form may be obtained from any IRS office, U.S. consular office aboard, or any Acceptance Agent. It also is available on-line at, or by calling 1-800-TAX FORM. Form W-7 is available in both English and Spanish.


More information in the attachments below.



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