Under pressure from unions, industrial hygienists, employers, immigrant rights organizations and even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal government’s immigration enforcement bureau agreed in March to cease all sting operations in which agents pose as OSHA safety personnel.
Pressure mounted after the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Bureau (ICE) – a part of the Department of Homeland Security – conducted a raid last summer at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina (see OSHA Enforcement Attacked and Undermined). An OSHA spokesperson criticized the raid, and the American Industrial Hygienists Association (AIHA) wrote a sharply critical letter.
Responding to the AIHA letter, ICE Director Marcy Forman wrote on March 17, “Effective immediately, the use of ruses involving health and safety programs administered by a private entity or a federal, state or local government agency for the purpose of immigration worksite enforcement will be discontinued by ICE.”
“It’s one thing to enforce U.S. immigration laws,” says Noel C. Borck, LHSFNA Management Co-Chairman and Impartial Secretary of the National Maintenance Agreement Policy Committee (NMAPC), “but pretending to be OSHA officials is the wrong way to do it. All workers, particularly those without the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement, need to be able to trust government safety officials.”