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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday issued a memo ordering U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop mass worksite raids.

Driving the news: Mayorkas said the Biden administration would instead focus on pursuing employers who hire and take advantage of immigrants without work authorizations, rather than the employees.

State of play: DHS said in the memo that it is also considering options to offer protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants who witness or are victims of "abusive or exploitable labor practices."

What they're saying: "We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities, or impose unsafe working conditions," Mayorkas said in a statement.

  • "Employers engaged in illegal acts compel the focus of our enforcement resources. By adopting policies that focus on the most unscrupulous employers, we will protect workers as well as legitimate American businesses."

Flashback: The new orders echo previous actions taken by the Clinton and Obama administrations. Under former President Clinton, the administration agreed to not deport people who reported labor complaints, per the Wall Street Journal.

  • The Obama administration also ended raids in workplaces to pursue abusive employers. However, it instead relied on audits to identify undocumented workers, the New York Times reported in 2010.

What to watch: DHS is asking ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to submit plans within 60 days for the agencies to address employers' abusive treatment of immigrant employees.

Read the memo:

Go deeper

America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic

Data: BLS; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The shortage of workers in the U.S. has become a flywheel of doom, messing up our lives and society writ large. And many of the underlying problems that led to this breakdown are bigger than the pandemic.

The big picture: Millions of immigrants, older workers and mothers are missing from the labor force. Those labor shortages create problems like supply chain woes, school closures, and skyrocketing child care costs — and some of those problems further exacerbate the worker shortages.

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.