- The Biden administration has ordered ICE to end large-scale worksite raids
- ICE workplace raids generally lead to widespread arrests
- The Department of Homeland Security is ordering immigration officials to take a new approach to protect undocumented workers and penalize employers engaged in exploitative labor
- Immigration officials have 60 days to comply with the agency order
- The memo also calls for strengthening of the E-Verify system used to check the legal status
This week, the Biden administration ordered an end to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids at worksites that often result in large-scale immigration arrests.
What are the Changes?
The administration called for an end to the worksite raids as part of its efforts to create a new enforcement strategy to target employers that have exploitative labor practices and pay their employees’ substandard wages. In a memo, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called for a review of current enforcement policies and instructed immigration officials to create new guidelines for protecting workers from deportation after reporting employers engaged in the illegal practices noted above. Immigration officials have 60 days to comply with the order.
Historically, ICE has targeted industries that employ large numbers of foreign workers in its largescale raids. The raids often lead to widespread arrests, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, and consequences such as deportation for undocumented workers. In his memo, Secretary Mayorkas wrote that the current practices punish vulnerable employees but rarely produce implications for their employers. Now, the Department of Homeland Security intends to create harsher penalties for employers and managers while making it easier for workers to reveal their employers’ exploitative practices. The memo also instructs Department of Homeland Security officials to strengthen the E-Verify system to check a prospective employee’s legal status.
The new approach is designed to protect American companies and employees by creating a more fair and just labor market and providing better working conditions for vulnerable employees.