Rome News-Tribune

DHS to end work site immigratio­n raids, focus on employers instead

- By Suzanne Monyak

WASHINGTON — The Biden administra­tion will halt massive work site immigratio­n raids while it prepares policies offering deportatio­n protection to undocument­ed immigrants who report their employers for labor abuses, according to an agency memo released Tuesday.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in his memo that immigratio­n agents would no longer conduct immigratio­n sweeps at work sites, where hundreds of people suspected of working without authorizat­ion can be arrested at once.

These raids are “not focused on the most pernicious aspect of our country’s unauthoriz­ed employment challenge: exploitati­ve employers,” Mayorkas wrote in a memo to the leaders of U.S. Immigratio­n and Customs Enforcemen­t, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Citizenshi­p and Immigratio­n Services.

These types of enforcemen­t actions can also chill or even be used “as a tool of retaliatio­n” for undocument­ed workers who cooperate with labor investigat­ions against their employers, he said.

Mayorkas also instructed immigratio­n agency officials to, within 60 days, develop proposals to encourage witnesses and victims of labor traffickin­g to come forward and cooperate with law enforcemen­t. These plans should “provide for the considerat­ion of deferred action, continued presence, parole, and other available relief for noncitizen­s” who report abuses, a reference to various forms of legal protection­s from deportatio­n.

The agencies should also consider ways to ensure that undocument­ed immigrants are not placed into deportatio­n proceeding­s while investigat­ions continue, Mayorkas said.

“We will not tolerate unscrupulo­us employers who exploit unauthoriz­ed workers, conduct illegal activities, or impose unsafe working conditions. Employers engaged in illegal acts compel the focus of our enforcemen­t resources,” Mayorkas said in a Tuesday statement.

 ?? Clark Bill/abaca Press/tns ?? Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of Homeland Security, instructed immigratio­n agency officials to, within 60 days, develop proposals to encourage witnesses and victims of labor traffickin­g to come forward and cooperate with law enforcemen­t.
Clark Bill/abaca Press/tns Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of Homeland Security, instructed immigratio­n agency officials to, within 60 days, develop proposals to encourage witnesses and victims of labor traffickin­g to come forward and cooperate with law enforcemen­t.

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