The United States government announced Tuesday that there will be no more raids on workplaces looking for undocumented immigrants and will focus more on employers and respect for labor laws to prevent the "exploitation" of migrants.
"We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers conducting illegal activities or imposing unhealthy or dangerous working conditions", said in a statement the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, in English), Alejandro Mayorkas.
A Mayorkas memorandum called for an end to mass raids on work sites stating that, during the administration of former President Donald Trump, "Those operations resulted in the simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers".
The raids "were used as a tool by exploitative employers to suppress and in retaliation against workers asserting our labor laws"the statement said.
"Employees engaging in illegal actions will be the focus of our law enforcement resources"Mayorkas said. "By taking action that targets the most unscrupulous employers, we will protect workers and legitimate American businesses at the same time.".
At the beginning of 2020, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) had a daily average of 40,000 people detained and currently has just over 21,800 in its custody in different detention centers throughout the country.
Arrests, which during the Trump administration included raids on work sites, fell from 6,000 last December to 3,600 in August, according to ICE data.
Last July, the Hispanic Caucus in Congress stated in a statement that "vilification of immigrant communities has increased surveillance and arrests by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), often in collaboration with local law enforcement".
"Mass raids and arrests predominantly targeting immigrant communities, and often occurring in schools or workplaces, erode trust between communities and the police"added the statement.
This memorandum joins the change of priorities for the arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants by ICE that the Government announced on September 30, and that will take effect on November 29.
Under the new rules, the priority will be the detention and deportation of criminals and those who have recently crossed the border illegally.
Then, Mayorkas told The Washington Post that ICE agents should not arrest and deport rural workers, the elderly, or those who have denounced homeowners or employers. "unscrupulous" or who have participated in protest demonstrations.