The Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum that will stop “mass” Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids of undocumented workers at job sites and instead target employers, the agency announced Tuesday.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to prosecute “employers who exploit the vulnerability of undocumented workers,” DHS Secretay Alejandro Mayorkas said in the memorandum. He added that the raids negatively impact workers who may already be subjected to low wages and unsafe working conditions.
“The deployment of mass worksite operations, sometimes resulting in the simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers, was not focused on the most pernicious aspect of our country’s unauthorized employment challenge: exploitative employers,” the agency said in a statement.
“These highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for, worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations,” the agency added.
“Exploitative” employers may also negatively impact law-abiding American workers and businesses because they pay undocumented workers substantially less, in turn creating an unfair labor market, according to the DHS.
DHS officials were directed to stop all “mass worksite operations” and refocus enforcement actions against “unscrupulous employers,” Mayorkas said. The agency will adopt policies more conducive to diminishing the demand for illegal workers and worsening consequences for employers who hire undocumented workers.
The directive includes a policy review order directed toward making it easier for illegal workers to report their employers’ abusive practices to the federal government, according to the DHS.
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