Democrats have made it harder to crack down on illegal child labor

By Jon Feere on August 15, 2023

New York Post, August 15, 2023

The Biden administration is responsible for launching the largest explosion of illegal child labor in American history through lawless immigration policies. It’s up to Congress to stop it.

In just the past two years, investigators have found shocking instances of young children working at slaughterhouses in Nebraska and Hyundai suppliers in Alabama.

All because President Biden would rather see children working than actually enforce our immigration laws.

Congress could require US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to dramatically increase the number of worksite investigations it conducts each month and file quarterly reports on the results.

ICE never knows what it will uncover when conducting a worksite investigation, but more often than not a visit to a questionable employer puts an end to child labor, exploitation, identity theft, tax evasion and a host of other crimes.

But Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gutted this effort the first year of the Biden administration in a memo where he directed ICE to “cease mass worksite operations” and stop investigations on any employer that could result in arrests of large numbers of illegal aliens.

Congress isn’t controlled by this lawless memo and can fund increased worksite investigations if it’s concerned about unlawful hiring practices and the resulting exploitation.

Congress could also require the Department of Labor to work with ICE and ensure that illegal immigrants identified during a DOL investigation aren’t allowed to move to a different employer.

This is a serious problem the GOP is probably not aware of but one that congressional Democrats quietly encourage.

There is a practice of DOL effectively blocking ICE investigators from visiting problematic worksites until DOL wraps up its own investigations, which can go on for years.

By the time ICE shows up, the unlawful labor is gone and evidence of the employer’s crimes may be unavailable.

Joint operations between DOL and ICE are critical if child labor is to be stopped as there are different and complementary authorities that DOL and ICE can use during an investigation.

Congress can also choose to block a provision included in previous DHS funding bills that prohibits ICE from arresting most sponsors of illegal-alien children arriving at our borders.

These are the children being exploited at worksites across the country, but in 2019, language written by then-Sen. Kamala Harris stopped ICE’s efforts to vet and arrest most sponsors, potential sponsors and anyone living in the house of these sponsors.

After Harris’ anti-enforcement language became law, reports to Health and Human Services on abuse and trafficking immediately jumped up and more than doubled within three months.

In its zeal to welcome illegal immigration and allow unscrupulous employers to get away with hiring lawbreakers, the Biden administration has dramatically expanded child labor at worksites across the country.

It’s up to Congress to put an end to the madness by demanding results and changing agency practices through the power of the purse.