DHS secretary orders ICE to stop targeting illegal immigrants at jobs

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued new orders Tuesday halting ICE from going after large numbers of illegal immigrants at job sites, saying it is a waste of resources and actually helps unscrupulous employers abuse unauthorized workers.

Mr. Mayorkas said he wants his department’s three immigration agencies to come up with new strategies to target employers while leaving the illegal immigrants unscathed.

But those solutions are in the future. For now, he said, “mass worksite operations” must cease.

“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,” Mr. Mayorkas wrote in a memo announcing the changes.

He also urged U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to exercise prosecutorial discretion to drop cases against illegal immigrants whom the Labor Department says are victims or witnesses of exploitation in a workplace.

Democrats on Capitol Hill applauded the news, calling it a victory for illegal immigrant workers.

“In America, all workers deserve a workplace that ensures they are treated with basic dignity and respect, and these actions by the administration are an important step in safeguarding the safety and well-being of undocumented workers,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat.

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