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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Feds targeting employers of illegal workers

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nati ... force.html

    Feds targeting employers of illegal workers

    By Joe Cantlupe
    COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
    December 10, 2006

    WASHINGTON – It was among the best sushi restaurants in Baltimore, but something was seriously wrong about Kawasaki's.

    While the owners showcased their finery in the dining room, the illegal immigrants who worked there were paid less than $2 an hour and lived in garbage-filled rooms above the restaurant, where they had no clean water.

    “Downstairs, the restaurant looked beautiful. Upstairs, it was filthy,” said Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    So federal authorities did something that has been almost unheard of in recent years: They filed criminal charges against the owners of the large Kawasaki restaurant, accusing them of exploiting cheap, illegal labor so they could buy Lexuses and real estate. Eventually, the government seized more than $1 million in assets from the owners, who also had two other restaurants.

    It is part of a trend that developed as Congress and the White House debated what to do about illegal immigration. Across the country, officials also have rounded up undocumented workers at companies ranging from a huge pallet manufacturer with offices in California to a company that performed cleaning services for Wal-Mart stores nationwide.

    But critics are skeptical, saying that political pressure from employers to maintain the status quo is overwhelming and that the Bush administration is making only a small dent in the problem of illegal immigrants in the workplace.

    Some employers, meanwhile, complain that a focus on enforcement, without changes in immigration law that address labor shortages, is hurting their bottom line.

    Over the years, the federal government has had a spotty record on work-site enforcement. The reasons included a general tolerance for illegal immigration in low-skill jobs, the difficulty of prosecuting cases and the relatively low fines that result.

    Without much fanfare, federal authorities say they started making a major push last spring on workplace enforcement. At the time, Republicans in Congress were calling for tougher enforcement measures, while President Bush was trying to persuade them to take an approach that included a path to citizenship for many illegal workers.

    “We are currently doing some very significant work-site enforcement operations and starting to look at criminal penalties,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The Department of Homeland Security includes Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.

    The numbers are starting to show: In the past year, ICE has arrested 716 employees and employers on immigration-related criminal charges, such as knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and money laundering, up from 25 in 2002. Those found guilty can be sentenced to prison.

    Administrative violations, which generally involve the apprehension of illegal immigrants at work sites, increased to 3,667, up from 485 in 2002, according to ICE. Violators can be fined.

    “They are trying to ramp things up to the extent they can. Work-site enforcement is an essential element to gain control over illegal immigration,” said Deborah Meyers of the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, who said she supports the ICE plan.

    “This is about creating a new norm for employers. Before, they weren't serious about investigations. It's about people buying into it and changing the norm.”

    But Steve Camorata, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks stronger limits on immigration, isn't convinced, noting that there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. He doesn't see many lasting changes ahead for enforcement and said there is political pressure to look the other way in areas where the work force might include large numbers of illegal immigrants.

    “If they bring more prosecution of egregious violators, that's fine and useful and important,” Camorata said of ICE. “But we're not sure the administration is serious about enforcement. The truth of the matter is the enforcement system is broken. When you look at the numbers, the numbers aren't very high.”

    The government's investigations constitute a “big jump from the previous year, but from a tiny base,” said Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California San Diego.

    Some employers say the focus on enforcement is unfair.

    “It's a major concern – people seeing clients being audited and our members raided and audited at a higher level,” said Laura Reiff, spokeswoman for the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a business group. “(Authorities) are going after companies involved in construction, critical infrastructure, drugs, food supply, hotels and restaurants. There is an enforcement mentality. It puts us in a major bind without comprehensive reform.”

    Meanwhile, the intensity of the political debate surrounding immigration over the past year seems to have subsided, with Democrats poised to take over the Senate and the House next month.

    House Republicans pushed for stronger enforcement of immigration laws. President Bush and a group of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate wanted a guest-worker program and ways for undocumented workers to gain legal status, along with greater enforcement.

    Eventually, Congress passed a bill to extend a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border by 700 miles, but tougher work-site enforcement provisions were not included.

    “Reformers – Republicans, Democrats and the president – know that's not the answer or the whole answer,” said Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who supports a wider approach. “The only way we will ultimately get control is with a combination of tougher enforcement on the border, but more important, in the workplace.

    “The challenge is to get a workable system up and running in a timely way,” Jacoby added, “rather than rushing to implement something that does not work.”

    Other experts agreed.

    “My guess is that if the new Congress wants comprehensive immigration reform, a tougher employer sanctions regime will have to be part of it,” Cornelius said.

    While politicians debate what might be ahead, Chertoff insists that the government is taking steps to make sure it complies with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The law requires employers to examine at least two forms of identification for all new workers and ensure they reasonably appear to be genuine.

    The Bush administration's 2007 budget proposes $41.7 million in new funds for work-site enforcement and an additional 171 agents.

    “This is a big shift in strategy for us,” said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for ICE. “We recognize the focus is not necessarily to arrest (illegal immigrants), but to punish corporations and the employers who hire them.”
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  2. #2

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    A lot of education is needed -- spoke with a staunch repub
    friend who is involved in the building industry on NC coast.
    He said there is an insatiable demand for semi-skilled
    workers. He is making money hand over fist & doesn't see
    1) the insatiable demand cannot continue forever, & 2)
    there is a cost for people who cannot send their kids to
    private schools & live in gated ocean side communities
    like himself. In the end, we have to question the patriotism
    & wisdom of our fellow citizens. I know there are people
    who hate this country & see mass migration as a way to
    stamp out the culture they hate, but I have a real problem
    understanding why people who claim to love this country
    & its institutions can place greed over their country every
    time.

  3. #3
    Senior Member loservillelabor's Avatar
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    http://www.alipac.us/modules.php?name=F ... ic&t=48360


    Nobel Winner Warns of Dangers of Globalization

    Challenging economic theories that he learned as a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville in the 1970s, he[Dr. Yunus] said glorification of the entrepreneurial spirit has led to “one-dimensional human beings” motivated only by profit.
    Unemployment is not working. Deport illegal alien workers now! Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  4. #4
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    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  5. #5
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    The Feds could have ended this criminal invasion a long time ago, with laws already existing, I don't really by their half hearted attempts at appeasing us Americans now. When I see it nation wide on a grand scale then I may believe it, but not till then.

  6. #6
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crusader01
    The Feds could have ended this criminal invasion a long time ago, with laws already existing, I don't really by their half hearted attempts at appeasing us Americans now. When I see it nation wide on a grand scale then I may believe it, but not till then.
    I'll start to believe them when the enforcement of our existing laws is applied to the degree illegal immigration reverses in America and our illegal alien population is beneath 5 million.

    W
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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