Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has delayed proposed immigration raids and other enforcement actions at U.S. workplaces, asking agents to apply more scrutiny to the selection and investigation of targets as well as the timing of raids, reports the Washington Post. A department official said the delays signal a change in whom agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement choose to prosecute — increasing the focus on businesses and executives instead of ordinary workers. Another official said Napolitano plans to release protocols this week to ensure more consistent work-site investigations and less “haphazard” decision-making.
Napolitano’s moves have led some to question President Obama’s commitment to work-site raids, which were a signature of the Bush administration. Napolitano has highlighted other priorities, such as combating Mexican drug cartels and catching dangerous criminals who are illegal immigrants. Napolitano’s moves foreshadow difficult decisions the administration faces as it decides whether to continue mass arrests of illegal immigrant workers in sweeps of meatpackers, construction firms, defense contractors, and other employers.