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The United States Government announced on Tuesday that there will be no more raids on workplaces in search of undocumented immigrants and will focus more on employers and respect for labor laws to prevent the “exploitation” of migrants.
“We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers conduct illegal activities or impose unhealthy or dangerous working conditions,” the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement, Alejandro Mayorkas.
A Mayorkas memorandum established the end of mass raids on job sites indicating that, during the government of former President Donald Trump, “these operations resulted in the simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers.”
The raids “were used as a tool by exploitative employers to suppress and in retaliation against workers asserting our labor laws,” the statement said.
“Employees who engage in illegal actions 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, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) had a daily average of 40,000 people detained and currently has just over 21,800 in its custody in different detention centers throughout the country.
Arrests, which during the Trump administration included raids on work sites, dropped from 6,000 last December to 3,600 in August, according to ICE data.
Last July, the Hispanic Caucus in Congress stated in a statement that “the vilification of immigrant communities has increased surveillance and arrests by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service ( ICE), often in collaboration with local police ”.
“Mass raids and arrests predominantly targeting immigrant communities, and often occurring in schools or workplaces, erode trust between the communities and the police,” the statement added.
This memorandum joins the shifting priorities for arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants by ICE that the Government announced on September 30, and that will enter into force on November 29.
Under the new rules, the priority will be the detention and deportation of criminals and those who have recently crossed the border illegally.
Then, Mayorkas told The Washington Post that ICE agents should not arrest and deport rural workers, the elderly or those who have denounced “unscrupulous” homeowners or employers or who have participated in protest demonstrations.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.