Earlier this week, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas announced that federal immigration agents will stop mass workplace arrests of immigrant employees suspected of living in this country without legal permission. Instead, agents’ focus will turn to the pursuit of “unscrupulous employers who exploit the vulnerability of undocumented workers.” The secretary also announced that the department will instead be focused on eradicating worker abuse, including unsafe work conditions, substandard wages, and human trafficking.
Policy Changes and Reviews
According to federal statistics, more than 7 million undocumented immigrants are working in the U.S. These workers make up approximately 25 percent of those that work in the farming, fishing, and forestry industries. It is estimated that approximately 13 percent of all construction workers are undocumented immigrants, and just under 10 percent of those working in the food service industry are also undocumented workers.
The massive worksite raids were a frequent occurrence under the Trump administration, resulting in the arrests of hundreds of workers at a time. One of the largest coordinated raids – which took place at chicken plants located in Mississippi that were owned by the Illinois-based Koch Foods – resulted in the arrests of 680 undocumented workers....