Chris Lange, FISM News
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been ordered to halt workplace sting operations and instead focus on “unscrupulous employers,” in a move that will shield undocumented workers from deportation.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued the directive in a Tuesday memo titled “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual.”
In the document he says that workplace ICE raids are “highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations [sic].”
Mayorkas says the shift in focus will “facilitate the important work of the Department of Labor and other government agencies to enforce wage protections, workplace safety, labor rights, and other laws and standards.” He intends for agents to focus instead on U.S. employers who are taking advantage of and violating the rights of illegal immigrant workers.
The move is the latest attempt by the Biden administration to dismantle border protection laws, diminish ICE’s capacity to secure the U.S. border, and protect illegal immigrants from deportation.
The memo elicited immediate backlash from Republicans. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised the radical left open borders. And they apparently intend to keep that promise” Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-TX) said on Twitter.
“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,” said R.J. Hauman, head of government relations for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in a Fox News interview. “Since the Biden administration cannot abolish ICE outright, Mayorkas is destroying it from within,” he added.
The memo comes two weeks after Mayorkas issued a separate memo with guidelines concerning ICE apprehensions of migrants who illegally cross the border, saying that being in the U.S. illegally does not, in itself, warrant an arrest.
Mayorkas’ latest directive comes at a time when the U.S. faces yet another massive migrant surge. Roughly 60,000 Haitian immigrants are currently making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border and are expected to arrive later this month. Mayorkas admitted that at least 12,000 Haitian migrants had been released into the U.S. in September, though the number is thought to be much higher. According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data, there were over 200,000 apprehensions of migrants illegally crossing the southern border in August alone.
Mayorkas’ announcement drew praise from the National Immigration Law Center. In a statement, Executive Director Marielena Hincapié said, “This move will also ensure those immigrants working in schools, factories, meatpacking plants, hospitals, construction sites, and other essential industries can do their jobs safely and speak out against unjust treatment without fearing employer intimidation, arrest, or deportation.”