In the News: Biden Ends Workplace Immigration Raids
This week the Biden Administration announced that it was calling a halt to work-site raids. The focus of Homeland Security’s attention has now shifted to “unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities, or impose unsafe working conditions.“
The policy reversal is thought to be a result of labor shortages in the United States. Ending work-site raids means US employers can keep people on the job.
According to a DHS memo published on 10/12, “Our worksite enforcement efforts can have a significant impact on the well-being of individuals and the fairness of the labor market. Our accomplishments in this area make clear that we can maximize the impact of our efforts by focusing on unscrupulous employers who exploit the vulnerability of undocumented workers. These employers engage in illegal acts ranging from the payment of substandard wages to imposing unsafe working conditions and facilitating human trafficking and child exploitation.”
The same memo noted that unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market that disadvantages competitors who abide by the laws. This in turn is meant to reduce the demand for undocumented employees.
ICE is currently focused on border crossings, aggravated felons, and national security threats. There has been a significant drop in deportations under Biden’s leadership.
Does that mean it is safe for you to report labor site violations as an undocumented worker?
The memo does offer some promising thoughts. For example, DHS is making plans to offer consideration of deferred action to whistleblowers, or to offer continued presence, parole, or other available relief “for noncitizens who are witnesses to, or victims of, abusive and exploitative labor practices. In addition, these plans should provide for the assistance noncitizen victims and witnesses need to participate actively in the investigations.”
The victim of criminal activity U visa may be a pathway for some who have been exploited by particularly unscrupulous employers. The U Visa does offer a path to a green card.
Speaking to an immigration lawyer to receive protection or to evaluate your chances of negotiating for a U Visa may be one pathway for you to shift your status and change your life for the better. Speaking to an attorney can also help protect you in the event that you do choose to report labor violations. Keep in mind that as of this writing the DHS memo represents a policy direction and that direct plans are not yet in place. The memo only calls for an end to the work-site raids and “requests prosecutorial direction.”
If you’re ready to consult with an immigration attorney to review your options, reach out to Hykel Law today.
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Although it often comes with controversy, immigration into the United States has always played a major role in the strength of its economy. Perhaps no one understands this more than the residents of Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell still welcomes foreigners to one of the richest historical communities of our country.
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