The Biden administration is mulling a proposal to shield illegal immigrants from deportation if they dime out an employer who hires them for “exploitative” rates, according to a report.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas included the idea in a note to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tae Johnson on Tuesday, targeting employers who hire illegal immigrants rather than the illegal immigrants themselves, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The memo calls on Johnson and other immigration officials to come up with policy options in 60 days to carry out the initiative.
Mayorkas said DHS can cut the demand for hiring illegal immigrants by aggressively pursuing “unscrupulous” employers who take advantage of the illegal workers by paying them low wages, the report said.
The DHS secretary said the hiring of illegal migrants leads to an unfair labor market because people authorized to work will have a more difficult time finding jobs that pay decent wages.
“The message is, exploitative employers should beware,” Mayorkas told the Journal.
He said businesses that employ illegal immigrants but pay them a fair wage and offer safe working conditions won’t be a priority for enforcement.
Mayorkas said the initiative stems from a directive he issued on Sept. 30 ordering ICE to focus on deporting illegal immigrants who “pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security” because the government doesn’t have the resources to track down every person who enters the US unlawfully.
The new direction reflects policies followed in the Clinton and Obama administrations, but moves beyond them in protecting the workers from deportation, the report said.
Under President Bill Clinton, agencies wouldn’t try to deport an illegal immigrant if they lodged a labor complaint.
President Barack Obama ended immigration raids on workplaces and prioritized enforcement of employers violating immigration laws.
President Donald Trump ratcheted up workplace investigations, including an ICE raid in August 2019 on Mississippi chicken plants that led to the arrests of about 680 immigrants — a third of whom were deported.
ICE began four times more workplace investigations in 2019 than the last year of the Obama administration, the report said, citing government data, but noted that the number of employers arrested for hiring illegal immigrants fell each year of the Trump administration.
Critics have blasted the Biden administration for its lax immigration policies that have led to a record surge of illegal immigrants arriving at the border.
Several illegal immigrants who illegally crossed into Yuma, Ariz., spoke this week with Daily Caller field reporter Jorge Ventura, who asked them if they’ve found it easier to cross now that President Biden is in office.
“First of all, he does not separate families,” one Colombian migrant said, according to a translation. “Second, one can wait less, when before it was six months. Now it goes by faster to wait under asylum.”
A second Colombian migrant told Ventura that he is “obviously happy” Biden changed some of Trump’s immigration policies because it “gives the chance for new people to grow, study, be something, be somebody in life because that’s what we’re looking for.”
Ventura pressed the migrants further, asking why they didn’t want to cross into the US during the last administration.
“No, I didn’t even want to try it,” one of the migrants said, citing strict immigration policies and police. “Not even think about it.”