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ICE stopping large workplace immigration raids

New push against bosses who abuse workers
Posted at 6:43 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 08:26:06-04

TUCSON, Ariz — The Homeland Security Secretary has ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop raiding businesses and arresting undocumented workers in those raids. ICE is to shift its emphasis to penalizing bosses who unfairly exploit workers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has rounded up hundreds of undocumented imigrants in large, high profile raids on workplaces like food processing plants.

Immigrant advocates say the raids left workers facing deportation while employers faced little or no penalty for taking advantage of undocumented workers. Advocates say some bosses used the threat of deportation to make sure workers would never never report abusive working conditions like pay below minimum wage or unsafe factories.

Now Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says the mass raids will stop and enforcement will shift to making sure bosses comply with employment law whether workers are documented or undocumented.

Mayorkas says: “By adopting policies that focus on the most unscrupulous employers, we will protect workers as well as legitimate American businesses.”  

Nadia Marin-Molina of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network says undocumented people are working in almost every industry.

“And many times, contributing to the economy, and yet not able to not able to enforce their rights and I think most people believe that whether you're documented or undocumented, you should not have to submit to to an employer who wants to take advantage of you and profit from that”

Marin-Molina says even if Tucson does not have large factories like the ones in high profile ICE raids, the new policy is still important for workers in other types of workplace.

Mayorkas memo says cracking down harder on bosses who exploit undocumented workers should discourage hiring workers who are in the U.S. illegally but Marin-Molina says the need for labor is so great that undocumented workers will still find jobs, but with better protection against exploitation.