On April 30, the Department of Homeland Security distributed its Worksite Enforcement Strategy describing how it plans to step up its efforts to enforce immigration laws. The new strategy focuses on reducing the demand for illegal employment by targeting employers that knowingly hire illegal workers as well as the workers themselves.
Last week, updated guidance was distributed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Effective immediately, ICE will focus its resources on the criminal prosecution of employers that knowingly hire illegal workers. Only 135 of the more than 6,000 arrests related to worksite enforcement in 2008 were employers.
ICE will continue to arrest and deport illegal workers who are found in the course of worksite enforcement actions and will use civil and administrative tools, including fines and debarment from federal contracts, to penalize and deter illegal employment.
Existing humanitarian guidelines will remain in effect, affecting worksite raids involving 25 or more illegal workers. This reflects a change from the previous threshold of 150.