Now playing
01:09
Ivanka calls on Congress to act on immigration
Michael Caputo
PHOTO: CNN
Michael Caputo
Now playing
01:25
Caputo: Trump tired of Dems gaming on DACA
A group of Central Americans crossed into Mexico in March as part of a migrant "caravan" heading to the United States border.
PHOTO: CNN
A group of Central Americans crossed into Mexico in March as part of a migrant "caravan" heading to the United States border.
Now playing
02:07
Donald Trump: No more DACA deal
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:38
Kaine: Trump could fix DACA if he wanted to
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09:  U.S. President Donald Trump (L) presides over a meeting about immigration with Republican and Democrat members of Congress in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) presides over a meeting about immigration with Republican and Democrat members of Congress in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:12
Trump changes tone on immigration
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
00:59
Pelosi: I'm going to go on as long as allowed
What is DACA?_00002803.jpg
What is DACA?_00002803.jpg
Now playing
01:57
What is DACA?
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
00:54
White House wants permanent DACA solution
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:33
Senators say McConnell willing to deal on DACA
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 6: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks at a news conference as other congressional leaders look on about President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program at the U.S. Capitol September 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. Democrats called for action on young undocumented immigrants that came to the U.S. as children who now could face deportation if Congress does not act.  (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 6: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks at a news conference as other congressional leaders look on about President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program at the U.S. Capitol September 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. Democrats called for action on young undocumented immigrants that came to the U.S. as children who now could face deportation if Congress does not act. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:11
Trump tweets DACA 'probably dead'
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15:  Dozens of immigration advocates and supporters attend a rally outside of  Trump Tower along Fifth Avenue on August 15, 2017 in New York City. The activists were rallying on the five-year anniversary of President Obama's executive order, DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Security throughout the area is high with President Donald Trump in residency at the tower, his first visit back to his apartment since his inauguration. Numerous protests and extensive road closures are planned for the area.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: Dozens of immigration advocates and supporters attend a rally outside of Trump Tower along Fifth Avenue on August 15, 2017 in New York City. The activists were rallying on the five-year anniversary of President Obama's executive order, DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Security throughout the area is high with President Donald Trump in residency at the tower, his first visit back to his apartment since his inauguration. Numerous protests and extensive road closures are planned for the area. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:30
Trump's twists and turns on DACA
US President Donald Trump, and wife Melania step off Air Force One upon arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on January 12, 2018.
Trump is heading to Palm Beach, Florida where he is scheduled to spend the weekend at the Mar-a-Lago estate. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump, and wife Melania step off Air Force One upon arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on January 12, 2018. Trump is heading to Palm Beach, Florida where he is scheduled to spend the weekend at the Mar-a-Lago estate. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:01
Trump: Democrats don't want DACA deal
Trump
PHOTO: CNN
Trump
Now playing
01:12
Trump: Immigration bill must be 'bill of love'
Sen. Jeff FLake lead 12-20-17
PHOTO: CNN
Sen. Jeff FLake lead 12-20-17
Now playing
02:07
How Flake used his leverage to revisit DACA
pelosi dreamers event 1
PHOTO: KGO
pelosi dreamers event 1
Now playing
01:15
Protesters drown out Nancy Pelosi
What is DACA?_00002803.jpg
What is DACA?_00002803.jpg
Now playing
02:01
One of these bills could replace DACA

Story highlights

Homan said he recently asked HSI to audit how much of their time is spent on work site enforcement

He asked his agency to increase that effort "four or five times"

(CNN) —  

The administration’s top immigration enforcement official on Tuesday said his agency will vastly step up crackdowns on employers who hire undocumented immigrants – a new front in President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration agenda.

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tom Homan spoke at the conservative Heritage Foundation and was asked whether his agency would do more to target not just undocumented workers, but their places of work.

Homan said he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE, to potentially quintuple worksite enforcement actions next year.

He said he recently asked HSI to audit how much of their time is spent on work site enforcement, and said he has ordered that to increase “by four to five times.”

“We’ve already increased the number of inspections in work site operations, you will see that significantly increase this next fiscal year,” Homan promised, saying the goal is to remove the “magnet” drawing people to enter the US illegally.

And he said his agency would approach the task in a way that’s “a little different” than in the past, by going just as aggressively after employees.

“Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we’re going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers,” Homan said.

“When we find you at a work site, we’re no longer going to turn our heads,” Homan elaborated after the event. “We’ll go after the employer who knowingly hires an illegal alien … but we’re always going to arrest a person who is here illegally. That is our job.”

ICE still has posted the previous administration’s policy on work site enforcement, which prioritizes targeting employers that use undocumented labor as a business model, engage in human smuggling, mistreat employees, commit identity fraud, launder money or are otherwise involved in criminal activity.

ICE spokeswoman Liz Johnson said the strategy “continues to address both” employers and employees.

“While we focus on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers, under the current administration’s enforcement priorities, workers encountered during these investigations who are unauthorized to remain in the United States are also subject to administrative arrest and removal from the country,” Johnson said.

According to a 2015 Congressional Research Service report, ICE arrested 541 individuals on immigration charges and 362 individuals on criminal charges in work site actions in 2014, continuing a downward trend in actions from a peak in 2011.