Thursday, April 30, 2009

ICE to Go After Employers

The Department of Homeland Security is to release today new guidelines that may reduce factory raids to round up the undocumented and focus more on criminal investigations and prosecution of employers. That does not mean ICE will be giving up on raids, but now they'll be part of an effort to build a case against employers. This sets tougher standards for raids. Immigrant advocacy groups had complained that raids under the Bush administration was "picking low hanging fruit" or merely increasing the number of detainees. There was little guidance on building a case against employers. The new guidelines might reduce the frequency of raids, but not eliminate them. They also will make greater provision for humanitarian considerations. (See New York Times article.)

From an unlikely source -- the Center for Immigration Studies which has a goal of restricting even legal immigration -- comes something of a quantifying of the impact of the recession on immigrants -- legal and undocumented. As expected they are hurting more than native-born American workers. The Los Angeles Times , following up with sources more sympathetic to immigrants, confirms the impression. The hurt is not just with the obvious sectors -- e.g., the hard hit construction and home-building industries -- but with higher tech and more educated workers.

Senator John McCain who attached his name to the failed immigration reform bill in the last congress and who generally anticipated to be an important actor in future efforts is to be challenged in the Republican primary next year by Chris Simcox, the founder of the self-appointed guardians of the borders, the Minutemen. (See Arizona Republic article.)

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