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President Joe Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas attend a naturalization ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 2, 2021, in Washington. (Patrick Semansky / AP) Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas instructed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to halt large-scale anti-illegal immigrant raids on worksites in a Monday memo.
“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’ memo stated.
“These highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for, worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations,” Mayorkas, a Biden appointee, wrote.
The memo laid out the Biden administration’s new approach toward dealing with workers who do not have the legal documents necessary to work and live in the United States.
Instead of focusing on these illegal migrant workers in workplace enforcement of immigration law, the administration seeks to concentrate on employers who circumvent federal law to exploit 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,” Mayorkas said in the memo.
“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.”
Undocumented immigrants, as of 2019, comprised around 5 percent of the labor force in the country, according to the Economic Policy Institute .
“A landmark study and survey of 4,300 workers in three major cities found that 37.1% of unauthorized immigrant workers were victims of minimum wage violations, as compared with 15.6% of U.S.-born citizens. Further, an astounding 84.9% of unauthorized immigrants were not paid the overtime wages they worked for and were legally entitled to,” the EPI report stated.In the Monday memo, Mayorkas wrote, “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 […]
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JD Rucker – EIC