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ICE Dramatically Increases Worksite Investigations in FY 2018 Compared to Previous Year

On Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it conducted thousands more worksite enforcement investigations in the fiscal year 2018 compared to the previous fiscal year.

A press release from the agency revealed that it opened 6,848 worksite investigations, a more than 400 percent increase from FY 2017. The agency also saw a dramatic increase in the number of administrative worksite-related arrests it made — 1,525 in FY 2018 compared to 172 in FY 2017.

The number of criminal worksite-related arrests also skyrocketed from 139 in FY 2017 to 779 in FY 2018.

In commenting on the arrests, Homeland Security Investigations Executive Associate Director Derek Benner described how illegal employment hurt the domestic economy.

“Employers who use an illegal workforce as part of their business model put businesses that do follow the law at a competitive disadvantage,” he said.

He added that U.S. laws “help protect jobs for U.S. citizens and others who are lawfully employed, reduce the incentive of illegal migration, eliminate unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce, and ultimately help strengthen public safety and national security.”

As IJR previously noted, illegal hiring practices appeared to allow managers to exploit immigrant labor. ICE indicted 17 on just that when it raided business in more than a dozen locations in Nebraska and Minnesota earlier this year.

While it’s unclear why exactly such a dramatic spike occurred in worksite investigations, the numbers came alongside an aggressive immigration enforcement agenda in President Donald Trump’s administration.

Many of ICE’s operations have focused on arresting immigrants with criminal records, although non-criminal arrests will likely increase as the agency countered sanctuary laws with at-large operations, which result in collateral arrests.

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