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DHS Releases Worksite Enforcement Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, Workers, and Worksite Conditions

Release Date: 
October 12, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to take actions to promote a fair labor market by supporting more effective enforcement of wage protections, workplace safety, labor rights, and other employment laws and standards.    

“The Department of Homeland Security has a critical role to ensure our Nation’s workplaces comply with our laws,” said Secretary Mayorkas.  “We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities, or impose unsafe working conditions.  Employers engaged in illegal acts compel the focus of our enforcement resources.  By adopting policies that focus on the most unscrupulous employers, we will protect workers as well as legitimate American businesses.”  

In accordance with a memorandum issued by Secretary Mayorkas on October 12, ICE, CBP, and USCIS will develop and update policies to enhance the Department’s impact in supporting the enforcement of employment and labor standards.  The agencies must also develop strategies for prioritizing workplace enforcement against unscrupulous employers and, through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, facilitate the participation of vulnerable workers in labor standards investigations.  

The memorandum also establishes an end to mass worksite enforcement operations.  Under the previous administration, these resource-intensive operations resulted in the simultaneous arrest of hundreds of workers and were used as a tool by exploitative employers to suppress and retaliate against workers’ assertion of labor laws.

Lastly, the memorandum calls for broader and deeper mechanisms for coordination with interagency partners to enforce worker protections.

Last Published Date: October 12, 2021
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