The Trump administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are ramping up encroachments on yet another aspect of immigrants’ lives, having doubled workplace investigations since the last fiscal year. ICE reports that:
From Oct. 1, 2017, through May 4, HSI opened 3,510 worksite investigations; initiated 2,282 I-9 audits; and made 594 criminal and 610 administrative worksite-related arrests, respectively. In comparison, for fiscal year 2017 – running October 2016 to September 2017 – HSI opened 1,716 worksite investigations; initiated 1,360 I-9 audits; and made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests related to worksite enforcement.
The figures represent the administration’s ongoing and explicit assault on immigrants, forcing them even deeper into the economic shadows. ICE claims they are trying to create a “culture of compliance,” but these raids will only continue to stoke the flames of distrust and fear. In January, ICE raided 98 7-Eleven stores across the country, including businesses on Long Island.
Speaking to CityLab, Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, correctly predicted in January that ICE would come to conduct more raids on hotels and motels, fast food and convenience store chains, and restaurants.
“I’m most concerned about the impact on workers and people who are looking for jobs and looking for a way to feed their families,” Clarke told CityLab.
The emboldened forces against immigrants are broadening their scope, aiming to make them feel unsafe at home where they are under threat of raids, at courts when they arrive for scheduled immigration appointments, and now at their workplaces as they attempt to earn a living for themselves and their families. As the Trump administration’s mass deportation agenda grows more widespread and entrenched, public safety and the economic health of all our communities are now at risk.