Immigration reform: New rules follow ICE raid in Bellingham

On April 30, after months of activism and advocacy by OneAmerica and other immigrant right groups nationwide, the Department of Homeland Security decided to release sweeping new guidelines to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on workplace enforcement of immigration law.

The new guidelines, as reported in The New York Times, came as a result of the Feb. 24 ICE raid in Bellingham, Wash., where 28 women and men were arrested and detained at the Yamato Engine Specialists Ltd. The organization expressed dismay over how aggressively ICE handled the situation.

Following intense and immediate organizing from immigrant rights organizations, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pledged an investigation into the raids.

“The new guidelines are an important step in the right direction,” said Pramila Jayapal, executive director of OneAmerica.  “They raise the standards of evidence needed to conduct raids and focus on unscrupulous employers rather than vulnerable workers. This should help rein in chaotic and often heartless past actions by ICE agents that do not address the real problems of a broken system.”

The new guidelines include:

  • ICE will target employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers rather than targeting workers in blanket raids. The guidelines state, “ICE must prioritize the criminal prosecution of actual employers who knowingly hire illegal workers because such employers are not sufficiently punished or deterred by the arrest of their illegal work force.”
  • Cases against employers will be made through carefully built criminal investigations. Agents are instructed to “obtain indictments, criminal arrest or search warrants, or a commitment from a U.S. attorney’s office to prosecute the targeted employer, before arresting employees for civil immigration violations at a work site.”
  • Humanitarian concerns — such as a sickness or being the primary caregiver for a child — must be considered in raids of companies with 25 employees or more, in contrast to previous rules requiring it to be with 150 employees or more. ♦

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11 Responses to “Immigration reform: New rules follow ICE raid in Bellingham”

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  6. OS123 says:

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  7. Lamar says:

    I was wrong, you did post it. My apologies.

  8. Lamar says:

    Interesting that you would not post my last comments. I said nothing hurtful, racist, or out of line. I simply have more facts that most and yet you did not want that to be exposed. Perhaps the Asian Weekly is not a legitimate news source, but rather a mechanism to only spread the “story” they want spread. Truth is simply an inconvenience.

  9. Casey says:

    Napolitano is dealing with lawbreaking Illegal Aliens not Immigrants. Under our current Immigration Laws Illegal Aliens have the right to Handcuffs and a Speedy Deportation. They have the right to take their children with them. She needs to acknowledge the inhumane situations many Americans and Legal immigrants are put in because of the economic terrorism caused by the illegal alien invasion. Millions of Americans are unemployed and homeless in their own country. When a U.S. Citizen commits a crime that warrants arrest, CPS takes care of their children if there is no one else to do so. All parents know the peril they place their children in when they decide to break the law. Call (house and senate reps) 866-220-0044. Tell them No Dream Act. No HBVisas, No feinstein AgBills. No Amnesty. Enforce our immigration Laws. E-Verify and 287g Nationwide. Attrition thru enforcement.

  10. Lamar says:

    I would be happy to speak at your function. I have an intimate working knowledge of the conditions at the detention center in Tacoma. It is clean, safe and has a tremendous medical program. Those in custody have more access to attorneys and other assistance than any other detention facility I have ever been associated with. They make sure that those in custody have the required meals that keep them in conformation with their religious beliefs (ie. Muslim foods). It is not over-crowded as some would have you believe. I would be happy to relay the FACTS as to the conditions within the detention center in Tacoma as opposed to the rumor, innuendo, and fear mongering that takes place among most of the advocacy groups.

  11. Larry Mueller says:

    To whom it may concern:
    I am chairman of Social Concerns ministry at Our Saviours Lutheran Church in Bremerton WA. We are having an advocacyy day On July 19th 2009 on treatment of inmates in the detention centers especially Tacoma. We are in need of a speaker familiar with the treatment of inmatesThe speaker is invited to attend our service at 9:30 AM and will speak about 11:00AM that day. We are interested in doing advocacy for reforms in our immigration system. My phone number is 360-649-7418 and I also can be reached by E-Mail at Please give me a call soon so we can have a speaker. The address of the church in 1017 Veneta Bremerton WA. We are on the corner of 11th and Veneta.The speaker should be prepared to speak for 20-30 minutes and have a time for questions.
    Sincerely yours,
    Larry Mueller

    Larry Mueller


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