Time line of large scale ICE enforcement raids on workplaces

These raids were begun under the George W Bush administration, terminated under Obama, and (one instance) brought back under Trump.  Trump is planning mass arrests if he becomes president in 2025.

April, 2006. Several factories of IFCO, a manufacturer of crates and pallet facilities, we raided with arrests of about 1,100 workers and some management staff.

December 2006: Swift meat processing plants are raided. The raids took place at plants in Greeley, Colorado; Grand Island, Nebraska; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minnesota.1,300 ICE agents were involved in the raids, resulting  in the arrests of nearly 1,300 undocumented immigrant workers.

March, 2007.  New Bedford MA clothing factory owned by Michael Bianco Inc raided resulting in about 350 arrests. Here is Senator Ted Kennedy’s statement about the raid.

May, 2008 Raid on Agriprocessors meat processing plant in Postville IA results in arrest of 1,000 workers.

October 2008, Greenville, SC meat processing plant of House of Raeford raided with arrest of about 350 workers,

July 2009 ICE enforcement action against American Apparel, with over 1,000 unauthorized workers, shows shift in enforcement from mass raids to financial penalties. Here abd here are postings about the shift in focus.

April, 2018. Bean Station, TN factory of Southeastern Provision, a family run meat processing plant, raided resulting in the arrest of about 100 workers.

Trump’s plan for immigration in his second term

The NY Times reports on Trump’s plan were he to be elected president next year:

Mass deportation: Tom Homan, who ran ICE for the first year and a half of the Trump administration and supported child separation,  said he told Mr. Trump he would “help to organize and run the largest deportation operation this country’s ever seen.” More broadly, Mr. Miller said a new Trump administration would shift from the ICE practice of arresting specific people to carrying out workplace raids and other sweeps in public places aimed at arresting scores of unauthorized immigrants at once. There are about 11 million unauthorized persons in the U.S. Mr. Trump wants to build huge camps to detain people while their cases are processed and they await deportation flights.

Revocation of visas: The visas of foreign students who participated in anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian protests would be canceled. People who were granted temporary protected status because they are from certain countries deemed unsafe, allowing them to lawfully live and work in the United States, would have that status revoked. This would apply to humanitarian parole beneficiaries such as from Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

Ideological screening: U.S. consular officials abroad will be directed to expand ideological screening of visa applicants to block people the Trump administration considers to have undesirable attitudes.

Birthright citizenship: Trump would try to end birthright citizenship for babies born in the United States to undocumented parents.  That policy’s legal legitimacy, like nearly all of Mr. Trump’s plans, would be virtually certain to end up before the Supreme Court.

Tactics: plan was crafted to need no new substantive legislation. And while acknowledging that lawsuits would arise to challenge nearly every one of them, Trump immigration aide Stephen Miller portrayed to the NY Times the Trump team’s daunting array of tactics as a “blitz” designed to overwhelm immigrant-rights lawyers.

Rhetoric: As he has campaigned for the party’s third straight presidential nomination, his anti-immigrant tone has only grown harsher. In a recent interview with a right-wing website, Mr. Trump claimed without evidence that foreign leaders were deliberately emptying their “insane asylums” to send the patients across America’s southern border as migrants.



How the big 1965 and 1986 immigration bills are enacted 

For the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act: Dem Rep. Emmanuel Celler chaired the House Judiciary Committee which held hearings on immigration reform in the early 1960s. President Kennedy had proposed immigration reform and eliminating the national-origin quotas in 1963. The Senate Immigration Subcommittee and House Immigration Subcommittee reviewed immigration policies in Congressional hearings during the early 1960s.  Attorney General Robert Kennedy convened a panel of experts in 1964 to review immigration policies which helped build momentum for reform.

The Senate voted 76 – 18 and the House voted 326 – 69. It was signed by President Johnson on October 3, 1965

For the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act: The Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, a bipartisan task force created in 1982 chaired by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh (16 members – 4 from the House, 4 from the Senate, and 8 from the general public ). The commission released a report with recommendations including employer sanctions, legalization of certain unauthorized immigrants, and increases in immigration enforcement.

The report helped shape the debate and lay the groundwork for the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Several of the major provisions in the 1986 law mirrored the Select Commission’s recommendations.

The Senate voted 69 – 30 and the House voted 230 – 166. It was signed by President Reagan on November 6, 1986.


Temporary Protected Status

The Biden Administration has given temporary legal status to hundreds of thousands of persons through the use of the Temporary Protective Status program and through Humanitarian Parole. In this posting I address TPS. In 2019 there were about 400,000 persons covered by TPS. After action the Biden Administration in September, over a million will be covered. They will account for about 650,000 workers.

The Trump Administration attempted to terminate some authorizations but were frustrated by the courts. No immigration program since the passage of the 1986 has accelerated legal status in the U.S. more than TPS. It is, I believe, reasonable for a TPS benefiary to think that they have a very good chance of becoming a legal permanent resident.

(The best in depth reviews of TPS are here and here.)

Congress enacted the Temporary Protective Status program as part of the immigration act of 1990 to establish a uniform process and standard for granting temporary humanitarian protection in the United States, for non-citizens already in this country whose home countries are in crisis.  This provision was in part a response to a 1947 U.N. Protocol on refugees.

TPS designation can be for an initial period of anywhere from 16 to 18 months and extended indefinitely for periods for up to 18 months. The program is designed for people who cannot return safely due to their home countries due to ongoing armed conflict, environmental the disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. While the designation formally is temporary, the designation can lead to a more permanent status.

Nearly 93 percent of current TPS holders are from Latin American countries, particularly El Salvador, Haiti, and Venezuela, where a worsening humanitarian crisis has caused more than seven million people to flee the country. Hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans have been allowed to stay in the United States since devastating earthquakes rocked El Salvador in 2001. Haiti was first assigned TPS after a massive earthquake destroyed much of the country in 2010, and it received the designation again in 2021 and 2022 amid continued violence and a prolonged political crisis. Honduras and Nicaragua were given TPS after a hurricane battered the region in 1998. Countries that have previously received TPS include Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kuwait, Liberia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. (Go here).

In March 2019, some 400,000 citizens from 10 countries were covered by TPS, per the Congressional Research Service. As of March 2023, about 610,000 citizens of 16 countries have been granted TPS. In September 2023 the Biden Administration allowed 472,000 Venezuelans to be covered, adding to the some 250,000 Venezuelans already covered by TPS. Some arrived into the U.S. illegally, and they are prevented from moving to a more permanent status. Many have been here for years, integrating into the economy and raising children.

tiny shoots of immigration reform

This is way premature say that immigration reform will return as a front burner issue (last time was in 2017) but one should notice that Senate Republicans are proposing to match in increase in the Federal minimum wage with mandatory use of e-Verfiy.  (Go here).  The mandatory use of e-Verify is an essential element in immigration reform. Lobbies for both parties have resisted it – business and progressives


Update on DACA

A long dispute about the constitutionality of DACA (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) reached another milestone with a federal judge in Texas has once more ruling that the Obama-era program protecting young immigrants known as Dreamers is illegal. (Go here). In the end, I expect that the Supreme Court will rule that DACA is an unconstitutional overreach of Executive Branch powers to make sweeping immigration law policy affecting large numbers of persons.  The Biden Administration’s use of humanitarian parole to enable hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers into the U.S. temporary is also under fire by some state attorneys general.

DACA beneficiaries are part of some two million persons of working age who are able to work legally only due to temporary programs created or expanded by the Obama and Biden administrations. This number will increase a lot if and when the surrent surge of parole beneficiaries are permitted to work.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, a George W. Bush appointee, previously invalidated the program in 2021, saying Congress never gave the executive branch the power to grant mass reprieves to an entire class of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.

The case now will likely go back to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which also has previously ruled against DACA. If it does so again, the administration could seek review by the Supreme Court.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, will remain in effect while the decision is appealed, and existing beneficiaries can continue to renew their participation in the program, which provides work permits and protections against deportation. As was the case before Wednesday’s decision, new applicants can’t be admitted to the program.

What is DACA?

DACA, created by executive order in 2012, protects to immigrants without legal authorization who were 30 years old or younger when the program was announced. DACA recipients must have arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16 and satisfied a range of conditions, including being a student or graduate and having no significant criminal record. The program has been shut to new applicants since September 5, 2017. As of then about 800,000 were eligible about 600,000 are formally enrolled in the program.  Whenever the prospects for a permanent resolution rise, advocates think of including more persons up to as much as two million.

Michael Bloomberg on our broken asylum system

Michael Bloomberg in the NY Times Sept 10 2023:

We have a system that essentially allows an unlimited number of people to cross our borders, forbids them from working, offers them free housing, and grants them seven years of residency before ruling on whether they can legally stay. It would be hard to devise a more backward and self-defeating system.

The root of the border crisis is a broken asylum system

In Foreign Affairs, written by Julia Preston, the national immigration correspondent for The New York Times from 2006 to 2016; she received a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for her reporting on Mexico.

“At the core of the crisis, from the borderlands to the American interior, is the U.S. asylum system. It was created nearly half a century ago to assess foreigners’ claims of persecution case by case. Over the past decade, however, the asylum system has become something else: for lack of other legal avenues, it has turned into the main channel for mass immigration across the southwest border, a function it was never designed to serve. By the end of 2022, almost 800,000 asylum cases were awaiting adjudication in the immigration courts. The average asylum claim took more than four years to decide. Yet in fiscal 2022 the courts nationwide granted asylum in only 22,311 cases.

“Since there have been no clear-cut procedures for deporting asylum seekers whose claims are rejected, many of those people and their families—along with tens of thousands of asylum seekers denied in previous years—have quietly joined the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country.

“The asylum system is failing at every step of the way. It has failed to provide orderly pathways for migrants at the border. It does not provide timely protection for people escaping from truly threatening situations in their home countries; nor does it give timely denials to migrants who are fleeing poverty and cannot meet the exacting legal definition of persecution. And now, as New York, Chicago, and other cities struggle with the rising costs of supporting the newcomers, they confront another failure: the system prevents asylum seekers from going to work to contribute to the U.S. economy. “

Preston refers to Title 42, use of parole, creating intake centers in Latin American countries, and introducing an app for applicants, as dancing around the core problem of the design of the asylum system.

She writes, “The reality is that officials in Washington will have to keep improvising at the border until the failings of asylum are reformed, and for that, Congress must act. Lawmakers will have to update and clarify the persecution standard to encompass victims of organized criminal violence, sexual abuse, and other nonpolitical violations; simplify the screening process; and specify the consequences for migrants whose claims are denied. More urgently, lawmakers must act to restore asylum to its purpose by expanding alternative legal avenues for labor and family immigration.”

Without reforms, the United States will perpetuate a system that draws more people into irregular migration, does not serve the American economy, and could leave hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the country in perpetual legal limbo.



Challenges to the surge of immigrants

The Biden Administration’s system of admitting 30,000 persons a month through the parole system is being challenged by both Republicans and Democrats.

As of now, about 200,000 persons have been admitted from Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua. And Cuba. Texas and other states are suing to stop the program.

New York State, in particular New York City, has received in the past year some 100,000 persons who are either parole beneficiaries of asylum applicants.  Asylum applicants have to wait 150 before applying for a work permit. Parole beneficiaries do not have a formal waiting period, but still have to apply. (The “non-immigrant” work application form is I-765). Lack of work permits greatly complicates how governments manage influxes of migrants and impacts on the well being of the migrants themselves.

New York State Governor Hochul has been pressuring the Biden Administration to speed up work authorizations for asylum applicants and parolees.

Here is an article which describes the how New York City is struggling to respond to housing and other issues of the migration surge. Only a small share of recent arrivals have come by way of initiatives of the governors of Texas and Florida.


Biden’s use of the parole system

The Biden Administration has reverted to using the “parole” system to manage some migrant flows into the United States.  As of this summer, some half million persons have entered the U.S. legally through parole.  Given as Biden’s use of the system includes private sponsorships of immigrants on a temporary basis, these initiatives present a major political commitment to in effect partly privatize the acceptance of immigrants from problem countries.

Here is a recent posting by me on the parole method of temporary entrance into the country. for a Congressional Research Service backgrounder on the system, go here. It is used primarily as a form of targeted humanitarian admission.  Parole has been used the past in 1956, for refugees from the Hungarian Revolution, for Cuban refugees in 1960, for the Mariel boatlift in 1980s. There is no notable use of parole for persons already in the U.S.

Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans, to reduce encounters at the Mexican border (160,000 as of mid summer 2023)

It started in October 2022, then expanded in January 2023, a parole program for admission of these persons.  Since the start of the program. Up to 30,000 individuals per month from these countries who have a U.S.-based financial supporter, pass vetting and background checks, and meet other established criteria, may be eligible to come to the United States for a period of two years and receive work authorization.  160,000 citizens of these countries have entered the U.S. under this program (as of July 2023).  Mexican border encounters with these nationalities declined from a seven-day average of 3,453 encounters in mid-December 2022 to a seven-day average of 394 at the end of June 2023. Here is a DHS summary of the program. Here is a defense of the program.

CBP One App Program (130,000): introduced in January, 2023 for the Mexican border, this app based system is for anyone who qualifies for asylum; those accepted are put into parole status awaiting asylum review (which can legally happen only when a person is in the U.S.) (Go here.) This was introduced to reduce pressure on the border.

To admit Afghans after the withdrawal (77,000): In the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden Administration introduced a parole program for qualified Afghans (a type of parole program called port parole). Typical with the administrative failure of the withdrawal, between January 1, 2020 to April 6, 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the agency in charge of adjudicating humanitarian parole applications, received 44,785 applications where the applicant’s country of citizenship was Afghanistan, and only approved 114 of those applications, or less than 0.3%. (Go here.)

Ukraine (140,000): Here is what I wrote on 4/21/22: “the Biden administration implemented today United For Ukraine, an innovative approach to rapid refugee intake – authorizing households to directly accept Ukrainian refugees, bypassing the conventional channel of central intake and then assignment to one of the many resettlement organizations in the United States. In effect it is a private sponsor-based program, though it might not be formally stated as such.

This is a potentially explosive change in refugee acceptance. Enormous pressure will be put on Washington to expand a privatized refugee system to many comers. For instance, there are today in the United States about 5,000 Banyamulenges from the Democratic Republic of Congo. These people are under threat of genocide. We can expect that many of these people here will privately sponsor their relatives and others for refugee status.”