A leading human rights group is calling on the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration to include protections for immigrants' rights in their proposals for immigration reform.

New York-based Human Rights Watch released a report Friday saying more needs to be done to protect undocumented immigrants in the workplace and in court.

The group says at work such people are vulnerable to exploitation - including sexual abuse and poor working conditions - and should be allowed to find other jobs in such cases.

It also recommends giving undocumented immigrants a path to legalization that includes government protection, so they feel safe to report crimes.

Earlier this month, President Obama called for bipartisan support for immigration reform. He described overhauling the system as a "moral imperative."  Congress is sharply divided over the issue, with Republicans generally opposing what they call amnesty programs.  

The Human Rights Watch report also urges the government to allow immigration judges to consider the ties legal permanent residents have in the United States before deporting them for minor crimes. The group says thousands of legal residents are deported each year without having their family connections or past military service considered.

Human Rights Watch also calls on the government to limit immigrant detentions. The group says those who have committed nonviolent crimes should be exempt from detention.