WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – Tuesday, lawmakers return to Washington to discuss a potential deal to overhaul America’s immigration system.
The U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) isn’t waiting for Congress to make the next move, however.
Thomas Homan runs ICE. He said this year, employers everywhere can expect to see more of his agents.
“We’re going to increase worksite enforcement operations 3 to 4 hundred percent,” he said.
Those operations are already underway.
Last week, the government raided 7/11 convenience stores in 17 states. Agents arrested 21 people suspected of living in the U.S. illegally.
According to ICE, the raids ensure that companies are held accountable for their hiring choices.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said ICE raids aren’t very fair.
The ACLU said raids often target people in predominantly Latino neighborhoods and worksites.
Jose Magaña-Salgado is an immigrants’ rights attorney.
He said last week’s 7/11 operation and raids like it do nothing to protect America and instead punish the wrong people.
“People need to feed their families. The 11 million undocumented immigrants are going to stay in the country; they’re not going anywhere. That’s the reality,” he said.
This week, Congress is expected to consider comprehensive immigration reform.
If it passes, agencies like ICE could receive millions of dollars more in funding for immigration enforcement.
Proponents say something needs to be done to discourage people from coming to the U.S. illegally and getting jobs.
Critics, however, argue that stricter enforcement only terrorizes workers and could force more people to the underground labor market.