As part of a policy review ordered by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the Biden administration has ordered a halt to mass immigration arrests on job sites, noting that the operations did little to focus on the employers.
In a memo released on Tuesday, Mayorkas ordered the immediate cease of mass worksite operations, stating that the operations go against new Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law.
"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," the memo states.
"These highly visible operations misallocated enforcement resources while chilling, and even serving as a tool of retaliation for, worker cooperation in workplace standards investigations," the memo continued.
The memo states that the they will "develop a Department-wide approach to worksite enforcement based upon our consideration of the plans and recommendations you present in response to this memorandum" in place of the previous operations and policies.
According to The Washington Post, mass arrest operations have primarily been used in the past against industries that employ large numbers of immigrants.
"Immigrant advocates and many Democrats who oppose the raids say they punish vulnerable workers, sow fear in immigrant communities and rarely result in consequences for employers," The Washington Post wrote.
As part of the memo, Mayorkas ordered a review of enforcement policies, giving immigration officials 60 days to come up with ways to protect undocumented immigrants who report on their employers from deportation.
On Sept. 30, Mayorkas issued new guidance relating to which immigrants are considered priorities for arrest. As part of that guidance, Mayorkas ordered that ICE officers and immigration agents exercise their discretion in selecting what immigrants to arrest for deportation.
New factors of officers to consider before arrest "include the harm suffered by the victim of the crime in question, the length of the immigrant's prison sentence, the sophistication of the crime and whether or not the immigrant used a gun," according to The Wall Street Journal.
Officers are also encouraged to weigh in factors like the age of the immigrant, how long they have been in the United States, how long ago the crime was committed, and the effect deportation would have on close family members.
The new guidance also places priority on immigrants that crossed into the US illegally after Nov. 1, 2020.