Illegal Sweatshops Thrive Under Mayorkas and Biden
Since late last year, workplace abuse cases involving illegal aliens have all but disappeared from the news. It’s not that mischief against migrants isn’t occurring; it’s that the Biden administration isn’t looking.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last October announced a halt to raids on businesses employing illegal aliens. His stand-down order to “Protect the American labor market, the conditions of the American worksite, and the dignity of the individual” are achieving precisely the opposite effect.
“Mayorkas presented the end of workplace raids as compassionate. He’s wrong: It’s not. It will only incentivize more illegal immigration and lead to more human suffering, as unscrupulous employers realize they can abuse undocumented workers with virtual impunity,” noted a recent op-ed in Newsweek.
“Ending the raids effectively grants amnesty not only to undocumented workers but to the most inhumane, criminal employers in the country.”
Midway through the Trump administration, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) had ramped up workplace enforcement. In fiscal year 2018, the agency opened 6,848 worksite investigations (a 405 percent increase over FY 2017), making 779 criminal and 1,525 administrative worksite-related arrests (versus 139 and 172, respectively, the year before).
These were modest numbers, considering there are millions of employers in the United States. But they were far higher than anything the Biden administration reported in its first year.
While Mayorkas does his best ostrich impression, even leftwing media outlets know slave labor sweatshops when they see them. American Prospect recently detailed how bottom-feeding contractors kick injured illegal workers to the curb, leaving those workers – and taxpayers — on the hook for medical bills.
Mayorkas’ oxymoronic memo aside, DHS could make good on its professed intentions to protect the integrity of the U.S. labor market and secure dignity for workers by requiring businesses to use the federal E-Verify employment-screening program. If fully implemented, E-Verify would have a huge impact in deterring the use of unauthorized workers.
Alas, Biden & Co. are going in the opposite direction. The Department of Justice actually prosecuted a Washington-based home care provider that used E-Verify. DOJ accused the company of imposing an additional burden on noncitizens during the hiring process, which allegedly constituted unlawful discrimination.
This is turning the law upside down. As the Newsweek article points out, “Illegal hiring isn’t a victimless crime. Honest citizens and legal immigrants get passed over for jobs. Wages fall. And the illegal workers often face appalling abuse.”
Mandatory E-Verify, coupled with responsible worksite enforcement, keeps employers at the margins honest, which in turn helps keep illegal immigration levels down.