Homeland Security secretary orders ICE to stop mass raids on immigrants’ workplaces

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«We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers,» Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, as he ordered a halt to mass workplace raids. Here, special agents with Homeland Security Investigations lead a worker away from a workplace raid in Ohio in 2018, part of a string of such operations during the Trump administration.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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The announcement is part of a shift in strategy under the Biden administration that puts a new emphasis on going after businesses and employers that violate labor laws. In addition to halting mass raids, it supports the idea of exercising prosecutorial discretion to spare workers from charges if they witness or are the victims of abuse or exploitation in the workplace.

 »We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities, or impose unsafe working conditions,» Mayorkas said in a news release about the shift.

«By adopting policies that focus on the most unscrupulous employers,» he said, «we will protect workers as well as legitimate American businesses.»

During the Trump administration, ICE carried out several massive workplace raids that the then-president touted as a centerpiece of his crackdown on undocumented immigration. One operation in 2018 resulted in the arrest of 146 employees at a meat processing company in northeast Ohio.

That raid was followed by an operation in 2019 in which ICE agents arrested approximately 680 people at food processing plants in Mississippi.


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