The scenes of exasperation echoed along the coast [is] spurring complaints that the Biden administration is acting too slowly to expand protections for immigrant workers. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a memo a year ago allowing undocumented workers, in any industry, to apply for work permits and protection from being deported if they file complaints about labor violations with government agencies or are caught up in worksite investigations.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and other Democrats urged DHS last month to issue “clear” guidance so that more will apply. “We’re not seeing utilization of the program in the way that we need to see it,” she said in an interview.