Sen. CervantesSPRINGFIELD – To support working Illinois residents who may be fearful of their job security, State Senator Javier Cervantes advanced legislation to protect immigrant employees who are working legally within the United States.

”For years I stood beside marginalized groups as they fought for the same rights as everyone else,” said Cervantes (D-Chicago). “This is a huge win for employees working legally in the United States who may be fearful of their job security, and I am thrilled to see this legislation move forward.”

Currently, federal immigration law requires employers to verify that their employees are lawfully authorized to work in the United States. Immigrants who are employed have the possibility of receiving a “no match” letter from the Social Security Administration for a variety of reasons such as name changes, work authorizations, employment visas and other bureaucratic errors. Usually, employers terminate employees who receive a “no match” letter even though these employees could be legally working in the United States.

Senate Bill 1515 fixes this issue and allows employees who receive a “no match” letter from any federal or state agency to take 30 days of unpaid leave in order to fix and correct any discrepancies with the agency’s records. The new measure will also prohibit employers from terminating employees simply because they received a no match letter.

”I am proud to continue the fight from my previous experiences and use those to create legislation that protects marginalized workers,” Cervantes said. “We have to make sure employees feel safe in their workplace.”

Senate Bill 1515 passed the Senate on Wednesday and will now head to the House for further consideration.