DHS Announces Halt on Workplace Immigration Raids | Illinois Immigration Lawyer
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DHS Announces Halt on Workplace Immigration Raids

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1934172425-min.jpgEarlier 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.

In addition to stopping the worksite raids, Secretary Mayorkas announced that three specific agencies - Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) – will be initiating a policy review that will help develop strategies that will address the following:

  • Deliver more severe consequences to employers who exploit illegal workers. This will reduce the demand for this type of employment.

  • Create a safe environment for workers to report any violations by employers who are exploiting workers. This strategy will also include ensuring that these employers do not threaten these workers with E-Verify. This is the system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

  • Expand the coordination between DHS with the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and state labor agencies. All of these agencies are involved in one form or another with worksite enforcement.

Contact an Illinois Immigration Attorney

Immigration policies continue to change under this administration compared to the policies of the previous one, making life a little easier for those who are undocumented. If you are an undocumented worker and are being exploited by your employer, contact a dedicated Illinois immigration lawyer to discuss what your legal options may be. Call Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices at 630-932-9100 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.





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