Wednesday, October 13, 2021

DHS stops large-scale immigration arrests at workplaces

Large-scale immigration raids at workplaces, not an uncommon occurrence at meatpacking plants, are no longer part of the Department of Homeland Security's strategy, the agency said Tuesday.

The Biden administration "said it is planning a new enforcement strategy to more effectively target employers who pay substandard wages and engage in exploitative labor practices, reports Nick Miroff of The Washington Post. "Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s memo ordered a review of enforcement policies and gave immigration officials 60 days to devise proposals to better protect workers who report on their bosses from facing deportation."

Miroff notes, "Immigrant advocates and many Democrats who oppose the raids say they punish vulnerable workers, sow fear in immigrant communities and rarely result in consequences for employers. . . . Worksite enforcement practices have flip-flopped between Republican and Democratic administrations over the years. In 2019, the Trump administration swept up 680 workers at seven poultry and other food processing plants in Mississippi, the largest single-state immigration enforcement action in U.S. history. Four managers were later indicted."

According to Mayorkas' memo, "the department’s shift in focus to employers will reduce the demand for illegal labor by delivering stiffer consequences for companies and managers while making it easier for workers to step forward and denounce exploitation," Miroff reports.

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