U.S. employers looking to skirt immigration law are a major focus of the Department of Homeland Security, according to Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan.
Recent ICE raids on several food processing plants, including a Koch Foods operation in Morton, Miss., is evidence the Trump administration and the federal government are taking violations seriously, McAleenan said on the "Fox News Rundown" podcast.
"Employers that are going to take advantage of people here unlawfully and exploit that workforce in an anti-competitive way, that has to be a target for ICE, and it is a priority for Homeland Security investigations as we've seen with significant cases in Texas and Tennessee and more recently in Mississippi," he said.
"Those are targeted at the employers. And we're in the middle of a criminal investigation there: 14 warrants signed by a federal judge that were served last week. And believe me that the target is the employers."
McAleenan also issued a warning to companies hoping to exploit illegal immigrants for financial gain.
"If you think you can shirk your duties under the law to hire workers that have valid immigration status in the United States, to pay their taxes and benefits appropriately, HSI is watching and we will be following up," he said.
He credited the low unemployment rate and vibrant economy as reasons for the influx of illegal immigrants seeking occupational opportunities.
"The employment magnet we have right now with under 4 percent unemployment with a booming economy, that's a huge pull factor," he told host Chris Foster.
He also spoke about the threat of acts of violence in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
"We need people to come forward when they have a concern about an individual," he said.
"If they think they're on a path toward violence, if they're motivated by an ideology, if they're obsessed with an idea that's making them angry, they need to share that, they need to give a mental health professional, a school officer, a law enforcement professional a chance to stop that process from happening."