Department of Homeland Security Refocusing Goals in Workplace Enforcement
Published: April 30, 2009

Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new vision when it comes to the implementation of worksite enforcement policies and the goals it seeks to achieve.

The DHS arm charged with carrying out worksite enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has in recent years carried out worksite raids not only to hold employers responsible for illegal employment of undocumented workers, but also to arrest the undocumented workers employed onsite. Under the new guidelines, DHS will put a premium on the investigation and criminal prosecution of employers rather than workers, since according to the DHS press release, “abusive employers” are “(one of) the root cause(s) of undocumented immigration.”

In 2008, worksite raids netted 6,000 arrests, of which only 135 were arrests of employers.

The primary message of the press release though was in the concluding paragraph: “Most critically, the Administration and Congress must reform our broken immigration system. Yesterday President Obama renewed his commitment to immigration reform, and today the U.S. Senate will hold a hearing on immigration, increasing the momentum toward reform. We must not let this historic opportunity to bring the nation’s legal immigration system into the 21st century slip by.”

Copyright © 2009, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois