On Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas further limited Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) powers to combat illegal immigration, ordering them to halt mass worksite deportation raids.
The memo was addressed to several officials, including the acting director of ICE, the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the acting commissioner of CBP, and titled, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual.” Mayorkas began the memo, saying, “Thank you for your leadership as we work to more effectively accomplish our Department’ s critical missions.”
“Our worksite enforcement efforts can have a significant impact on the well-being of individuals and the fairness of the labor market,” Mayorkas wrote, before stating that the focus of the agency’s efforts should be on the exploitation of “undocumented workers.”
“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,” he wrote. “These employers engage in illegal acts ranging from the payment of substandard wages to imposing unsafe working conditions and facilitating human trafficking and child exploitation. Their culpability compels the intense focus of our enforcement resources.”
“In addition, unscrupulous employers harm each worker competing for a job. By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market. They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law,” Mayorkas continued. “We can most effectively protect the American labor market, the conditions of the American worksite, and the dignity of the individual by focusing our worksite enforcement efforts on unscrupulous employers.”
Mayorkas then listed “policies and practices” regarding the enforcement of “wage protections, workplace safety, labor rights, and other laws and standards.
- Reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers and their agents;
- Increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigations; and,
- Broaden and deepen mechanisms for coordination between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and state labor agencies.
Mayorkas then gave “immediate guidance,” which included the demand that ICE “cease mass worksite operations.”
“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,” Mayorkas said. “These highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for, worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations.”
“I look forward to working with you on these critical efforts,” Mayorkas concluded.
“After the issuance of today’s memorandum effectively ending worksite enforcement – on top of other radical policy changes that are getting hard to count — one thing is clear: Secretary Mayorkas is the biggest disaster for border security and immigration enforcement in American history,” RJ Hauman, head of government relations for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) told Fox News. “Since the Biden administration cannot abolish ICE outright, Mayorkas is destroying it from within.”
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