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Letter to Public Officials on DHS Statement on Worksite Enforcement

In a public letter to Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement Eva Millona, Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur M. Jaddou, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, and US Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller, regarding the recent Department of Homeland Security Policy Statement on worksite enforcement, Human Rights Watch urges them to ensure the full protection of immigrant workers' human rights. 

Dear Assistant Secretary Millona, Director Jaddou, Acting Director Johnson, and Acting Commissioner Miller:

Human Rights Watch urges you to ensure the full protection of immigrant workers’ human rights in your forthcoming policy reviews pursuant to the October 12, 2021, policy statement (Worksite Enforcement Policy Statement) of US Department of Homeland Security (DHS or Department) Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas.[1]

Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization based in New York City that investigates, documents, and exposes human rights abuses around the world. For decades, we have advocated for the rights of immigrant workers in the United States and have documented the close relationship between immigration status and vulnerability to labor abuses.

Workplace protections under international human rights law apply to all workers, regardless of citizenship status. However, fear of retaliation, including deportation, causes many workers who are unauthorized, who have family members who are undocumented, or otherwise have tentative immigration status to hesitate about speaking up in the workplace or reporting abusive employers and working conditions. As the Secretary recently wrote:

“It is an unfortunate reality that unscrupulous employers exploit their employees' immigration status and vulnerability to removal by, for example, suppressing wages, maintaining unsafe working conditions, and quashing workplace rights and activities…. [DHS] must ensure our immigration enforcement authority is not used as an instrument of these and other unscrupulous practices.”[2]

This letter draws from our research to provide recommendations to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on how to ensure the human rights of immigrant workers in the US when implementing Secretary Mayorkas’ immediate guidance and conducting the Worksite Enforcement Policy Statement’s requested reviews.

  1. Concerning Immediate Guidance #1: “Cease Mass Worksite Operations”

Foremost, we welcome Secretary Mayorkas’ decision to immediately cease mass worksite immigration enforcement operations.[3] However, as DHS seeks to refocus its workplace enforcement efforts, we caution the Department against conducting any worksite enforcement actions that interfere with the realization of workplace rights, either directly or indirectly.

As widely documented by Human Rights Watch and other organizations, immigrant workers often face particular vulnerabilities to workplace violations, from high rates of occupational injury and illness to sexual harassment and sexual violence.[4]

For example, our 2019 report, “When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones Will Keep Hurting”: Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants, documented how federal deregulation threatened to worsen dangerous working conditions in the meatpacking industry.[5] In general, workers we interviewed for this research frequently raised fears of retaliation. Most of the workers who spoke with us requested to remain unidentified in our report, with many of these individuals expressing fears about potential immigration consequences if they were identified.[6]

In this context, workplace enforcement actions can have lasting harmful impacts on workers’ ability to assert their rights. Our 2004 report, Blood, Sweat, And Fear: Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants, documented how worksite arrests by the Immigration and Naturalization Service disrupted worker organizing and continued to chill organizing efforts for years after they occurred.[7]

In 2018 and 2019, Human Rights Watch interviewed some of the nearly 100 workers arrested during a raid on a cattle slaughtering and processing plant near Morristown, Tennessee, as well as many family members of those arrested and local community members. These interviewees described how the raids had torn families and communities apart.[8]

But the impacts of immigration raids reverberate far outside of targeted worksites. For example, a union representative and former poultry plant worker in Nebraska who spoke with Human Rights Watch after these raids in 2019 said, “People don’t know when or where there will be a raid…. There’s a lot of fear.”[9]

Only a few months after that conversation, 680 people were arrested during raids on seven meat processing plants in Mississippi, including workers at a plant that had just settled a contentious class action employment discrimination lawsuit with its workforce.[10] According to the Mississippi Center for Justice, an estimated 230 people arrested during these raids were subsequently deported.[11]

Human Rights Watch’s research has made clear that the impacts of deportations can be immediate and severe, both for those uprooted from their homes and for the families that many leave behind.[12] Due to the chaotic nature of these raids, as well as inadequate protections in existing immigration law for the right to family unity and protection against return to harm, immigrants’ human rights are often violated in removal proceedings that may originate from a workplace raid.[13] For some, it can even be a matter of life and death.

According to reporting by Vice, Edgar López, one of the workers arrested during the raids in Mississippi, was deported to Guatemala after pleading guilty to illegal reentry.[14] More than twenty years earlier, he had been arrested during another raid on a chicken processing plant, was deported, and reentered the country within months.[15] But in 2020, when Edgar tried, once again, to return to the US to reunite with his family in Mississippi, he was killed in a massacre of 18 migrants near the US border.[16]

More than two years after the 2019 raids in Mississippi, roughly 400 people are still awaiting immigration hearings while continuing to face significant economic hardship compounded by Department practices, according to the Mississippi Center for Justice:

The nearly 700 people who were arrested were, in many cases, the only economic support for their families. Of the people who have been released, most have ankle bracelets and cannot leave to work. They are fearful of applying for basic assistance… for their US citizen children because they are afraid that doing so will worsen their chances for an immigration status in the future.[17]

While we welcome the Secretary’s decision to immediately cease mass worksite immigration enforcement operations, we recommend that the Department mitigate and remedy the ways that these operations continue to harm the human rights of immigrant workers and their families.[18]

Additionally, as these raids were inconsistent with the Secretary’s requirement for individualized assessment and prioritization, we recommend that DHS collaborate with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure that any and all ongoing immigration cases arising from such operations reflect the Secretary’s civil enforcement priorities.[19] Individualized assessments of an immigrant’s connections to the US prior to removal are critically important to protect the rights to family unity and due process.[20] However, both current DHS policies, such as collaborating in criminal prosecutions of immigrants for illegal entry and re-entry and other immigration-related charges, and structural due process concerns with US immigration courts present bars to such an individualized assessment in US removal proceedings.[21]

Recommendations

 

To Department of Homeland Security

  • Collaborate with the Department of Justice to ensure that individuals arrested during worksite raids are no longer subject to criminal prosecution for immigration-related charges, such as unlawful reentry or document fraud, arising from their arrest.
  • Additionally, in the interest of limiting criminal prosecution arising from worksite enforcement, request that the Department of Justice rescind its April 11, 2017, guidance, “Renewed Commitment to Criminal Immigration Enforcement.”

 

To Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • For all individuals arrested in a worksite raid, collaborate with DOJ to immediately release those who may be currently detained and terminate any outstanding removal proceedings.

 

To US Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • Provide employment authorization eligibility for individuals detained in worksite raids who may be currently awaiting immigration hearings.
  • Provide humanitarian parole to individuals who may have already been deported from the US following arrest during a worksite raid but have close family ties or connections in the country, or fears of violence and persecution abroad that were not adequately considered prior to their removal.
  1. Concerning Immediate Guidance #2: “Requests for Prosecutorial Discretion”

We welcome the Worksite Enforcement Policy Statement’s call to “exercise prosecutorial discretion for workers who are victims of, or witnesses to, workplace exploitation.”[22] Additionally, we also welcome the requirement in the Secretary’s September 30, 2021 “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law” (Civil Immigration Law Enforcement Guidelines) that “[a] noncitizen's exercise of workplace… rights, or service as a witness in a labor… dispute, should be considered a mitigating factor in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”[23]

Read together, however, the Civil Immigration Law Enforcement Guidelines and the Worksite Enforcement Policy Statement appear to provide immigration officials with significant discretion in conducting the case-by-case analyses called for by the Secretary. Misuse of that discretion could effectively undermine the goals of these new policies and disregard significant human rights equities, including immigrants’ rights to family unity, children’s right to be raised by their parents, and the rights of people with credible fear of persecution abroad.

 

Recommendations

 

To Department of Homeland Security

  • Closely monitor the implementation of the Secretary’s guidance, establishing protective processes to ensure that potential mitigating factors, including those stemming from a noncitizen’s exercise of workplace rights, their status as a victim of workplace exploitation, and their connections and contributions to the US, are properly identified and assessed.
  • Ensure that ICE, CBP, and USCIS publish any and all policy guidelines, handbooks, and other training materials created pursuant to the Secretary’s memos, to provide public awareness about how immigration officials are expected to implement prosecutorial discretion.
  • Regularly publish the data on enforcement actions collected pursuant to the Secretary’s Civil Immigration Law Enforcement Guidelines.

 

To Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • Broadly interpret the forms of labor abuse that should be considered a mitigating factor in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Workers who have been scared into silence about their workplace conditions should not be prevented from benefiting from such discretion for want of a clear record of organizing or complaints to state or federal officials.
  • The Department should ensure that workers in industries that do not have federal statutory protections under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), such as agricultural and domestic workers, can establish labor abuses in the context of organizing efforts and labor disputes. 
  1. Concerning Policy Review #1: “Identify any existing and potential policies that have an impact on the Department's role in supporting the enforcement of employment and labor standards”[24]

The US government cannot “[i]ncrease the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigations” unless its immigration policies ensure immigrant workers are able to speak up without fear of reprisal.[25]

To counter immigrant workers’ fear of retaliation, including possible deportation, the Department should take affirmative steps to make clear that all workers, regardless of citizenship status, should feel comfortable organizing, voicing concerns about labor conditions, and participating in administrative and legal processes to vindicate their workplace rights.

Accordingly, we welcome the Secretary’s commitment to adopt immigration enforcement policies that facilitate the important work of the Department of Labor (DOL) and other government agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to enforce wage protections, workplace safety, and other labor rights laws and standards.[26]

Given the chilling effect of immigration enforcement in the workplace, any interest in identifying abusive employers and remedying workplace conditions is best served by agencies with mandates focusing on workplace rights. The Department can, however, better support these agencies’ enforcement of employment and labor standards by implementing the below recommendations.

 

Recommendations

 

To Department of Homeland Security

  • Revise the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding between DHS and DOL, and its 2016 addendum to include EEOC and NLRB (together DHS-DOL MOU), to reflect the Secretary’s enforcement and deconfliction priorities as articulated in both the Civil Immigration Law Enforcement Guidelines and the Worksite Enforcement Policy Statement.[27]
  • Amend the DHS-DOL MOU (III)(A) to broadly define “labor dispute” in a way that effectively protects the range of workplace activities that should be protected. For example, DHS may borrow from the National Labor Relation Act’s definition of “labor dispute,” while covering workers in industries excluded from NLRB jurisdiction.[28]
  • Either through clarifying the DHS-DOL MOU or entering into separate memorandums, extend the deconfliction process to disputes arising under state or local worker protection laws, claims before state or local labor agencies or in a civil court, and grievances pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Where routine deconfliction pursuant to the DHS-DOL MOU does not prevent the issuance of a notice to appear for or the detention of an individual involved in a labor dispute, establish a streamlined mechanism through which that person can be released from custody and provided a hold on their removal process. Ideally, this mechanism would allow civil society organizations, including workers centers and labor unions, to rapidly inform ICE that a detained individual is involved in a labor dispute. For such a process to be meaningful, it needs to be efficient, clear, and fast.
  • Establish processes to ensure that workers’ personal information and that of their family members, shared between agencies pursuant to the DHS-DOL MOU, will not later be used as a basis for a civil immigration enforcement action.
  • Issue written guidance clarifying the process whereby immigrant workers involved in a labor or workplace civil rights dispute can request affirmative immigration protections.
  • Issue written guidance clarifying the spectrum of defensive prosecutorial discretion mechanisms to remedy situations in which immigrants involved in labor or workplace civil rights disputes are placed into removal proceedings, removed, or expelled.
  • Train immigration officials from ICE, CBP, and USCIS on workplace laws enforced by labor, employment, and civil rights enforcement agencies.
  • Establish a permanent stakeholder engagement process concerning the implementation of the DHS-DOL MOU’s deconfliction process, including civil society organizations and representatives of relevant federal, state, and local labor agencies.

 

To Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • Broadly interpret the kinds of “labor dispute” that are subject to deconfliction pursuant to the DHS-DOL MOU (III)(A) and allow for a broad range of evidentiary bases for establishing such a labor dispute.
  • Ensure that all immigration officials that may conduct civil enforcement operations at workplaces or against individuals engaged in a labor dispute—including those from Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and special task forces in addition to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)—adhere to the deconfliction processes described in the DHS-DOL MOU.
  1. Concerning Policy Review #2: “Develop agency plans to alleviate or mitigate the fear that victims of, and witnesses to, labor trafficking and exploitation may have regarding their cooperation with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of unscrupulous employers”[29]

We welcome the Secretary’s call to “provide for the consideration of deferred action, continued presence, parole, and other available relief for noncitizens who are witnesses to, or victims of, abusive and exploitative labor practices,” and to “consider ways to ensure that noncitizen victims and witnesses generally are not placed in immigration proceedings during the pendency of an investigation or prosecution.”[30]

Research by Human Rights Watch has shown how threat of deportation impacts cooperation with law enforcement. In 2014, Human Rights Watch interviewed immigrants in Nashville who suffered assault, sexual harassment, robbery, and kidnapping, but were reluctant to call the police because of their cooperation with immigration authorities.[31]

More recently, in 2018, Human Rights Watch published a report, Immigrant Crime Fighters: How the U Visa Program Makes US Communities Safer, which described how the U and T visa programs serve as key components of the US government’s efforts to live up to its human rights obligations and build safer communities.[32] However, we found that the nationwide cap on U visas and years-long backlog in the application process contributed to uncertainties that took a significant toll on applicants:

“They may endure severe economic hardship before they receive work authorization and be forced to rely on an abusive partner in order to survive. They may become more vulnerable to labor or sex trafficking. And, abusers, perpetrators of crimes or their associates may threaten to turn victims or witnesses into immigration authorities while their visa status is in limbo.”[33]

Many of our recommendations below center on how the Department can increase the efficacy of these two programs and otherwise foster immigrant workers’ cooperation with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of unscrupulous employers. But we urge the Department, first and foremost, to address the arbitrary cap on the number of individuals that can be provided relief on an annual basis through U visas and the backlog of outstanding applications.

 

Recommendations

 

To Department of Homeland Security

  • Establish processes to ensure that workers’ personal information and information about their family members or coworkers, collected during their cooperation with law enforcement or other investigations, will not later be used in immigration enforcement actions.
  • Issue interpretive guidance on the confidentiality provisions of 8 U.S.C. § 1367, particularly as it may relate to the civil discovery of U-visa applications.
  • Collaborate with the Department of Labor to extend U visa certifying authority to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Establish processes to ensure that individuals are screened for U and T visa eligibility.

 

To Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • Quickly and effectively eliminate the backlog of existing U visa applications.
  • Issue guidance on types of qualified criminal activity in the workplace that may qualify victims or witnesses for U visas, ensuring that criminal violations of workplace rights are protected.
  • Conduct outreach and training to encourage relevant state and local law enforcement authorities to consider U visa certification.
  • Establish a permanent stakeholder engagement process concerning workplace U and T visas, including civil society organizations and representatives of relevant federal, state, and local labor agencies.
  • Streamline the fee waiver process and, where relevant, ensure that fees levied against U and T visa applicants do not present a barrier to their use.
  • Make information regarding the agency's procedures for certification requests publicly available for victims of qualifying criminal activity and their representatives.
  • Implement the USCIS Ombudsman’s June 2016 recommendations concerning “Parole for Eligible U Visa Principal and Derivative Petitioners Residing Abroad” to provide for parole for petitioners with pending U applications who are outside the US. Additionally, use parole and deferred action authority to unify the family of survivors, including extended family that may not immediately qualify for U visa.[34]
  1. Concerning Policy Review #3: “Identify the policies and measures that are in place to ensure that E-Verify is not manipulated to suppress unauthorized workers from, or to punish unauthorized workers for, reporting unlawful labor practices such as substandard wages, unsafe working conditions, and other forms of worker exploitation”[35]

Human Rights Watch urges caution and requests clarification regarding the Secretary’s call for policies to “[r]educe the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers and their agents.”[36]

While substantive accountability for abusive employers’ violations of workers’ rights has long been central to our recommendations, the current systems to identify unauthorized employment arrangements with immigrant workers (e.g., E-Verify) can, as the Secretary has acknowledged, serve as potential tools for retaliating against whistleblowers.[37]

In 2019, Human Rights Watch interviewed an undocumented worker at a poultry plant who had experienced rights-abusive workplace conditions. “We don’t work with our real names, so we are afraid,” she said.[38] As a result, she explained, she and other undocumented workers at the plant felt that they didn’t “have the right to speak up or ask for the bathroom.”[39]

As stated above, we caution the Department against conducting any worksite enforcement actions that interfere with the realization of workplace rights, either directly or indirectly. Without adequate protections in place, even worksite enforcement actions focused on unscrupulous employers, such as narrowly tailored I-9 audits, can have negative downstream consequences for workers and contribute to a climate of fear that may indirectly undermine workplace rights. Accordingly, we recommend that the Department follows the points described below.

 

Recommendations

 

To Department of Homeland Security

  • Request an independent evaluation, potentially from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), regarding the efficacy of the E-Verify program and its impact on workers’ rights.
  • Establish processes to ensure that workers’ personal information collected during a worksite enforcement action will not be used as a basis for an immigration enforcement action.

 

To Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • Prohibit the use of information gathered during an I-9 audit from being used against workers in civil immigration enforcement.
  • Amend the reverification process to prevent I-9 document abuse
  • Place a hold on all pending removal proceedings that arose from an I-9 audit to establish whether such cases reflect the Secretary’s civil enforcement priorities, terminating any and all removal proceedings that do not.
  • Prohibit I-9 audits during ongoing and recently ended labor disputes.
  • Establish processes to ensure that workers’ personal information, collected during an I-9 audit, will not later be used as a basis for an immigration enforcement action. This should include effectively explaining such processes and how personal data is to be handled over time.

 

To Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • Before approving an employer’s participation in E-Verify, contact relevant state and federal labor agencies to confirm that there is no pending or recently occurring labor dispute in the workplace, and require employers to disclose to USCIS the existence of any such labor dispute.
  • Establish processes to ensure that employers’ I-9 reverification requests are not used as a tool to retaliate against workers, including by prohibiting I-9 reverification during labor disputes.
  1. Conclusion

Under US law and international human rights law, workplace protections apply to all workers, regardless of citizenship status. The Department should make clear in its actions and words that all workers should feel free to organize, voice concerns about labor conditions, and participate in administrative and legal processes to vindicate their workplace rights.

We would be happy to provide additional information, and also welcome the opportunity to further discuss our recommendations.

Sincerely,

Matt McConnell

Clara Long

 

[1] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf

[2] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law,” September 30, 2021, https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/guidelines-civilimmigrationlaw.pdf.

[3] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf

[4] Human Rights Watch, “’When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones Will Keep Hurting’: Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants” (September 4, 2021) https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/04/when-were-dead-and-buried-our-bones-will-keep-hurting/workers-rights-under-threat; Human Rights Watch, “Cultivating Fear: The Vulnerability of Immigrant Farmworkers in the US to Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment,” (May 2012) https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/us0512ForUpload_1.pdf

[5] Human Rights Watch, “’When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones Will Keep Hurting’: Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants” (September 4, 2021) https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/04/when-were-dead-and-buried-our-bones-will-keep-hurting/workers-rights-under-threat.

[6] For more information about our methodology for this report and the demographics of individuals with whom we spoke, please see Human Rights Watch, “’When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones Will Keep Hurting’: Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants” (September 4, 2021) https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/04/when-were-dead-and-buried-our-bones-will-keep-hurting/workers-rights-under-threat, pp. 10-12.

[7] Human Rights Watch, “Blood, Sweat, And Fear: Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants,” (2004) https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/usa0105.pdf, p. 112.

[8] “US Immigration Raids Target Meat Industry: Massive Crackdown Highlights Need for Better Protection of Workers,” Human Rights Watch (August 8, 2019) https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/08/08/us-immigration-raids-target-meat-industry.

[9] Human Rights Watch, “’When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones Will Keep Hurting’: Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants” (September 4, 2021) https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/04/when-were-dead-and-buried-our-bones-will-keep-hurting/workers-rights-under-threat.

[10] See Mississippi Center for Justice, “Mississippi ICE Raids Two Years Later: Increased Strains And Shrinking Hope” (August 2021) https://mscenterforjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/ICE-Raids-2nd-Anniversary-Report-20210806.pdf; “Koch Foods Settles EEOC Harassment, National Origin And Race Bias Suit,” US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (August 1, 2018) https://www.eeoc.gov/newsroom/koch-foods-settles-eeoc-harassment-national-origin-and-race-bias-suit; Mica Rosenberg, Kristina Cooke, “Allegations of labor abuses dogged Mississippi plant years before immigration raids,” Reuters (August 9, 2018)

 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-koch-foods/allegations-of-labor-abuses-dogged-mississippi-plant-years-before-immigration-raids-idUSKCN1UZ1OV.

[11] Mississippi Center for Justice, “Mississippi ICE Raids Two Years Later: Increased Strains And Shrinking Hope” (August 2021) https://mscenterforjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/ICE-Raids-2nd-Anniversary-Report-20210806.pdf.

[12] Human Rights Watch, “The Deported: Immigrants Uprooted from the Country They Call Home” (December 5, 2017) https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/12/06/deported/immigrants-uprooted-country-they-call-home.

[13] For more information on how US immigration enforcement provides inadequate opportunity for immigrants to defend against deportation and the US’s obligations under international human rights law with respect to protecting the right to family unity, see Human Rights Watch, “The Deported: Immigrants Uprooted from the Country They Call Home” (December 5, 2017) https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/12/06/deported/immigrants-uprooted-country-they-call-home.

[14] David Mora and Emily Green, “Deported to Death” (February 23, 2021) https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd9qk/edgar-lopez-murder-trump-zero-tolerance-immigration-policy.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd9qk/edgar-lopez-murder-trump-zero-tolerance-immigration-policy

[15] David Mora and Emily Green, “Deported to Death” (February 23, 2021) https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd9qk/edgar-lopez-murder-trump-zero-tolerance-immigration-policy.

[16] David Mora and Emily Green, “Deported to Death” (February 23, 2021) https://www.vice.com/en/article/epd9qk/edgar-lopez-murder-trump-zero-tolerance-immigration-policy.

[17] Mississippi Center for Justice, “Mississippi ICE Raids Two Years Later: Increased Strains And Shrinking Hope” (August 2021) https://mscenterforjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/ICE-Raids-2nd-Anniversary-Report-20210806.pdf. For more information on the human rights impacts of the bar on work authorization and lack of social support for asylum seekers in the US, see Human Rights Watch, “The Deported: Immigrants Uprooted from the Country They Call Home” (December 5, 2017) https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/12/06/deported/immigrants-uprooted-country-they-call-home. See also “Human Rights Watch Submits Comments on Proposed Rule Regarding Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” Human Rights Watch (December 10, 2018) https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/12/10/human-rights-watch-submits-comments-proposed-rule-regarding-inadmissibility-public.

[18] For more information on the human rights impacts of deportation and the human rights responsibilities of DHS with respect to family unity and children’s rights, please see Human Rights Watch, “At Least Let Them Work: The Denial of Work Authorization and Assistance for Asylum Seekers in the United States” (November 12, 2013) https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/11/12/least-let-them-work/denial-work-authorization-and-assistance-asylum-seekers-united.

[19] See US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law,” September 30, 2021, https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/guidelines-civilimmigrationlaw.pdf (“We will prioritize for apprehension and removal noncitizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security…. Whether a noncitizen poses a current threat to public safety is not to be determined according to bright lines or categories. It instead requires an assessment of the individual and the totality of the facts and circumstances.”).

[20] See Human Rights Watch, “The Deported: Immigrants Uprooted from the Country They Call Home” (December 5, 2017) https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/12/06/deported/immigrants-uprooted-country-they-call-home (“The United States has obligations to protect basic rights, including the right to family unity and the right to due process. However, these rights are routinely violated within the US immigration and deportation system, which in most cases gives no airing or weight to immigrants’ ties to home and family. Even when immigrants are able to secure an individualized hearing, under US law these factors are in most cases of no legal relevance in deciding whether the person should be removed from the country.”); Human Rights Watch, “Forced Apart

Families Separated and Immigrants Harmed by United States Deportation Policy” (July 16, 2007) https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/05/22/turning-migrants-criminals/harmful-impact-us-border-prosecutions. (“an individualized determination must occur before deportation in compliance with Article 33(2) [of the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees] during which states must weigh two elements: that a refugee has been convicted of a particularly serious crime and that he or she constitutes a danger to the community.”).

[21] For more information on the human rights impacts of border prosecutions, please see Human Rights Watch, “Turning Migrants into Criminals: The Harmful Impact of US Border Prosecutions” (May 22, 2013) https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/05/22/turning-migrants-criminals/harmful-impact-us-border-prosecutions (“the defenses that are available for defendants charged with illegal entry or reentry … are difficult to investigate and present in the short period of time Streamline attorneys have with their  clients…. But even outside of Operation Streamline, the breadth and scale of these cases have forced the creation of new avenues for rapid prosecution that result in tremendous pressure to accept the government’s offer of a plea agreement and waive important rights.”).

[22] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf.

[23] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law,” September 30, 2021, https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/guidelines-civilimmigrationlaw.pdf.

[24] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf

[25] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf

[26] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law,” September 30, 2021, https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/guidelines-civilimmigrationlaw.pdf.

[27] “Revised Memorandum of Understanding between the Departments of Homeland Security and labor Concerning Enforcement Activities at Worksites” (December 7, 2011) https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OASP/DHS-DOL-MOU_4.19.18.pdf.

[28] “National Labor Relations Act,” 29 U.S.C. § 152, https://www.nlrb.gov/guidance/key-reference-materials/national-labor-relations-act

(“The term ‘labor dispute’ includes any controversy concerning terms, tenure or conditions of employment, or concerning the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of employment, regardless of whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of employer and employee.”).

[29] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf.

[30] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf

[31] “Nashville Immigrants Too Scared to Call the Police,” Human Rights Watch (May 19, 2014) https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/05/19/nashville-immigrants-too-scared-call-police (“One woman whose 10-year-old daughter was assaulted feared calling police even though neighbors caught the perpetrator. She eventually relented, but stopped cooperating and fled when immigration raided her building; she felt that living in the United States, even underground, was better than returning to Honduras where she feared she and her daughters might be killed. Another victim who was stabbed 12 times and whose newborn baby was kidnapped said her initial response when neighbors told her to call 911 was to say “No” because of her immigration status. She said, “Even when I was in the ambulance, bleeding, the thing I kept thinking was ‘Who will take care of my children when I am deported?’”)

[32] Human Rights Watch, “Immigrant Crime Fighters: How the U Visa Program Makes US Communities Safer,” July 2018, https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us0718_web.pdf. See also “Why Doesn’t Trump Talk about This Man?

Alan Gonzalez Risked His Life Confronting Robbers,” Human Rights Watch (January 11, 2019) https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/11/why-doesnt-trump-talk-about-this-man (“[Alan Gonzalez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico,] stopped by a local store and stumbled upon an armed robbery in progress…. Rather than turn away, Gonzalez, a 23-year-old construction worker, confronted the robbers…. During the ensuing struggle, the gunman shot Gonzalez three times, and ran away…. Miraculously, Gonzalez survived and became a star witness for the prosecution. Had Gonzalez not chased down the robbers, the prosecutor said, they might never have been caught. As a result of his testimony, the shooter and three others involved in the crime spree went to prison.”)

[33] Human Rights Watch, “Immigrant Crime Fighters: How the U Visa Program Makes US Communities Safer,” July 2018, https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us0718_web.pdf.

[34] Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, “Parole for Eligible U Visa Principal and Derivative Petitioners Residing Abroad” (June 16, 2016) https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/cisomb-u-parole-recommendation-061616_0.pdf.

[35] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf

[36] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Worksite Enforcement: The Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Conditions of the American Worksite, and the Dignity of the Individual,” October 12, 2021, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/memo_from_secretary_mayorkas_on_worksite_enforcement.pdf

[37] US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas Memorandum to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tae D. Johnson, “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law,” September 30, 2021, https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/guidelines-civilimmigrationlaw.pdf.

[38] Human Rights Watch, “’When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones Will Keep Hurting’: Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants” (September 4, 2021) https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/04/when-were-dead-and-buried-our-bones-will-keep-hurting/workers-rights-under-threat

[39] Human Rights Watch, “’When We’re Dead and Buried, Our Bones Will Keep Hurting’: Workers’ Rights Under Threat in US Meat and Poultry Plants” (September 4, 2021) https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/09/04/when-were-dead-and-buried-our-bones-will-keep-hurting/workers-rights-under-threat

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