April 11, 2009
Over the coming months Americans will find out if the Obama administration and the congressional leadership are preparing another attempt to pass a comprehensive amnesty bill in 2009. But, with or without legislation, the administration is sending unmistakable signals to illegal aliens that they will not vigorously enforce laws against illegal immigration. Just as increased worksite enforcement during the past two years was beginning to show a positive effect, and illegal aliens were starting to return home, the actions of the new administration are likely to undo that progress.
Based on the administration’s actions during their first two months in office, certain patterns are becoming evident:
Review of worksite enforcement policies. On February 24, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided the Yamato Engine Specialists Company in Bellingham, Washington, and arrested 28 illegal alien workers. This was the first worksite enforcement action carried out by ICE since the new administration took power.
Rather than support the ICE agents in the field for doing the job the taxpayers are paying them to do, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called for a review of worksite enforcement policies. Testifying before Congress the next day, Napolitano told lawmakers that she had not been informed about the Bellingham raid. “I want to get to the bottom of this,” said Napolitano.
The secretary’s statement to Congress came in response to howls of protest from pro-illegal alien activists who demanded that ICE enforcement cease immediately. The decision to review ICE enforcement efforts, rather than offer unqualified support for the people enforcing U.S. immigration laws, indicates that the Obama administration is likely to curtail worksite enforcement.
Ironically, the raid was carried out on the same day that the president addressed a joint session of Congress during which he vowed to fix the economy and get unemployed Americans back to work. Hundreds of American workers immediately applied to fill the 28 jobs left vacant by the arrest of illegal alien workers at the Yamato Engine Specialists Company in the town about 20 miles from the Canadian border.
Nationwide, an estimated 7.7 million U.S. jobs are now held by illegal aliens. In case after case in which enforcement actions have removed illegal workers, legal workers have almost immediately lined up to fill the vacancies. American DO want these jobs. These are jobs that can and should be available to U.S. workers at a time of rising unemployment, without spending $800 billion.
If you’re not a terrorist or a felon, there is no need to worry. In other statements since taking office, Secretary Napolitano has hinted that her department’s enforcement efforts will focus on tracking and removing terrorists and criminal aliens from the country. While no one can argue with the objective of removing foreign terrorists and criminals, the administration’s statements indicate that those who entered the U.S. illegally will not be pursued unless they are terrorists or felons.
The first target may be 287(g) enforcement. The provision, established in 1996, allows state and local police to receive training in immigration law enforcement for the purpose of supplementing limited federal law enforcement resources. It provides an important and necessary tool to help law enforcement officers protect their communities. Under the 287(g) program, which FAIR fought to include in the 1996 legislation, 67 police and sheriff’s departments across the country have received training to identify and detain suspected illegal aliens. Last year, 43,000 illegal aliens were arrested by 287(g) trained officers.
This highly effective enforcement tool is now under attack by the defenders of illegal aliens because some of those apprehended are not violent felons, according to a review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Based on these findings, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) indicated that the program may come under review. “[T]he record is incomplete, at best, as to whether this program is a success,” Thompson said.
The legislative language creating 287(g) did not specify that it be used exclusively, or even predominantly, to apprehend criminal aliens. Rather, the GAO report notes, “its legislative history do[es] not detail the exact responsibilities to be carried out” by local law enforcement. The report also states that “ICE has the discretion to define the 287(g) program objectives in any manner that is reasonable,” thereby playing into the hands of the Obama administration by suggesting it can decide to use the program solely to identify and remove terrorists and criminal aliens.
What is taking shape is a hands-off policy for all illegal aliens, except those engaged in violent crime or terrorism. Even without a formal amnesty, the Obama administration appears to be moving in the direction of allowing all but the most incorrigible illegal aliens to remain and work in the United States. Moreover, the president did not demand inclusion of E-Verify protections in his economic stimulus package, aimed at creating or preserving some 3.5 million U.S. jobs.
FAIR will continue to press for vigorous enforcement of U.S. immigration laws – especially at a time of economic crisis – in spite of the administration’s apparent obstructionism. Working with allies in Congress, the media, and a dedicated core of committed activists across the country, FAIR will challenge every effort by the administration to ignore its responsibilities to law-abiding workers and taxpayers.
The refusal by the Obama administration to carry out enforcement efforts also provides a powerful argument against future amnesty legislation. It is an early indication that any enforcement promises made in exchange for amnesty legislation are likely to be worthless and the failures of the 1986 amnesty law repeated.
(Right Side News urges our readers to click on and visit the source for this report: The Federation for American Immigration Reform ,sign up for their emails and get involved in supporting their efforts)