The Biden administration, through the Department of Homeland and Security (DHS), on Tuesday instructed to stop the workplace raids that arrest undocumented immigrants while at work.

The announcement was made by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas through a memo addressed to the officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"Our worksite enforcement efforts can have a significant impact on the well-being of individuals and the fairness of the labor market," Mayorkas said in the memo.

The DHS secretary also added that the worksite raids or operations also go against the "Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law" as well as the individual assessment.

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DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas: Efforts Must Focus on "Unscrupulous Employers"

The new guidelines announced by the DHS secretary will now focus on employers that exploit unauthorized immigrants, CNBC reported.

Mayorkas pointed out that the workplace arrests that result in hundreds of undocumented immigrants being arrested are not focused on exploitative employers.

"Our accomplishments in this area make clear that we can maximize the impact of our efforts by focusing on unscrupulous employers who exploit the vulnerability of undocumented workers," Mayorkas emphasized.

The DHS secretary alleged that the said employers are involved in illegal acts such as payment of substandard wages, imposing unsafe working conditions, as well as trafficking and child exploitation.

To become successful in targeting the employers, Mayorkas directed the immigration agency officials to enforce policy change within 60 days, such as delivering "more severe consequences" to exploitative employers and encourage the workers to report the violations of law by the said employers.

By targeting the exploitative employers, Mayorkas noted that they can protect the American labor market, the condition of the American workplace, as well as the dignity of every individual.

Aside from ceasing the workplace raids and operations, Mayorkas also mentioned that undocumented immigrants may request prosecutorial discretion. However, the DHS secretary highlighted that individual requests will be on a case-by-case basis, arguing that requests will be weighed against any "derogatory information."

Number of Workers Who Are Undocumented Immigrants

According to a 2020 report from the Center of American Progress, more than seven million undocumented immigrants are working in the United States.  

Furthermore, 13 percent of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. work in construction, 10 percent in administrative and support and waste management, 8.4 percent in accommodations and food services industry, and 25 percent work for fishing, farming, and forestry occupations.

When it comes to workplace raids, the National Immigration Law Center noted that worksite raids increased during the Trump administration.

In April 2018, a workplace raid at Southeastern Provision, a meat processing facility in Tennessee, led to the arrest of approximately 100 undocumented immigrants.

That record was succeeded by another workplace raid in Mississippi, as the ICE arrested nearly 700 undocumented workers at a food processing plant in 2019. The said raid marked the largest single-state operation in the history of the United States.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written By: Joshua Summers

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