U.S. Department of Homeland Security Ending Mass Worksite Enforcement Raids

By Andrew M. Wilson

October 13, 2021 | Immigration Blog
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo outlining its mission and fundamental principles with respect to applying immigration enforcement policies. This updated mission includes continuing to reduce the demand for illegal employment by "delivering more severe consequences to exploitive employers and their agents".

Citing ineffective usage of resources, DHS announced that it is ending mass worksite enforcement raids as a tool to combat illegal employment. The memo reads:

"Cease mass worksite operations. 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. These highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for, worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations. Moreover, such operations are inconsistent with the Department's September 30, 2021 Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law and the individualized assessment they require. Given these concerns, please ensure we no longer conduct mass worksite operations and instead refocus our workplace enforcement efforts to better accomplish the goals outlined above." (See memo below)

No this does not mean you no longer need to complete those pesky I-9s. And no this does not mean that worksite enforcement is no longer an important policy goal of the DHS. In fact, the memo references "delivering more severe consequences to exploitive employers and their agents". Thorough compliance procedures are still important.

For the time being, however, it does mean that the DHS no longer views mass worksite enforcement raids as an effective measure in combatting illegal employment.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from our firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.


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