The US government announced Tuesday that there will be no more raids on workplaces looking for illegal immigrants and will focus more on employers and respecting labor laws to prevent “exploitation” of immigrants.
“We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers to carry out illegal activities or impose unhealthy or dangerous working conditions,” DHS chief Alejandro Mallorcas said in a statement.
Mallorcas’ memo called for a halt to mass raids on worksites, and stated that during the administration of former President Donald Trump, “those operations resulted in hundreds of workers being arrested simultaneously.”
The statement said the raids were “used as a tool by exploitative employers to suppress and retaliate against workers to enforce our labor laws.”
“Employees who engage in illegal acts will be the focus of our law enforcement resources,” Mayorkas said. “By taking action that targets the most unscrupulous employers, we will protect workers as well as legitimate American businesses.”
At the beginning of 2020, ICE had a daily average of 40,000 people in custody, and it currently has just over 21,800 detainees in various detention centers across the country.
Arrests, which during the Trump administration included raids on workplaces, fell from 6,000 last December to 3,600 in August, according to ICE data.
Last July, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus stated in a statement that “discrediting immigrant communities has led to increased surveillance and arrests by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), often in cooperation with local law enforcement.” .”
“Mass raids and arrests, which mostly target immigrant communities, and often occur in schools or workplaces, undermine trust between communities and the police,” the statement added.
This memo joins the change of priorities regarding arrests and deportation of illegal immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced by the government on September 30, and will come into effect on November 29.
Under the new rules, priority will be given to detaining and deporting criminals and those who have recently crossed the border illegally.
Next, Mayorkas told the Washington Post that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents should not arrest and deport rural workers, the elderly, or those who denounced “unscrupulous” homeowners or employers or who participated in protests.