The Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday that it would streamline a deferred action process for noncitizens who report labor violations so as to help them avoid deportation.
The agency hopes that the policy will help it to identify exploitative work environments by protecting those who come forward from “immigration-related retaliation from the exploitive employers,” according to a press release. DHS contends that workers often avoid reporting labor violations for fear that their employers will retaliate on the basis of their immigration status.
“Effective immediately, this process will improve DHS’s longstanding practice of using its discretionary authority to consider labor and employment agency-related requests for deferred action on a case-by-case basis,” it continued.
“We will hold these predatory actors accountable by encouraging all workers to assert their rights, report violations they have suffered or observed, and cooperate in labor standards investigations,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Through these efforts, and with our labor agency partners, we will effectively protect the American labor market, the conditions of the American worksite, and the dignity of the workers who power our economy.”
Mayorkas has come under fire for his handling of immigration amid an unprecedented surge in illegal migration at the southern border. A record 2.4 million migrants entered the U.S. in fiscal year 2022 alone and roughly 4 million have done so since President Joe Biden took office.