Friday, July 3, 2009
The Obama administration has begun moving away from the well-publicized Bush administration criminal raids of undocumented workers. The enforcement emphasis is shifting instead to going after the employers who hire these workers--through civil sanctions, not criminal charges--in an acknowledgment that as long as employers are seeking out undocumented labor, the supply will be there (not that the current efforts will do much to change the equation either). According to the New York Times:
Federal agents will concentrate on businesses employing large numbers of workers suspected of being illegal immigrants, the officials said, and will reserve tough criminal charges mostly for employers who serially hire illegal immigrants and engage in wage and labor violations. . . .
On Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency known as ICE, said it had sent notices announcing audits of hiring records, like the one it conducted at American Apparel, to 652 other companies across the country. Officials said they were picking up the pace of such audits, after performing 503 of them in 2008. . . .
The Obama administration’s new approach, unveiled in April, seems to be moving away from the raids that advocates for immigrants said had split families, disrupted businesses and traumatized communities. But the outcome will still be difficult for illegal workers, who will lose their jobs and could face deportation, the advocates said. Immigration officials have not made clear how they intend to deal with workers who are unable to prove their legal immigration status in the course of inspections, but they said there was no moratorium on deportations.
Check out the full story for more details on the American Apparel case, which is entertaining as usual.