Monday, June 19, 2006

Enforcement? Yeah, We Heard Of It

Nice idea, in theory. Washington Post (06.19.06), via First Draft:
"The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show. Between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department." Illegal Hiring Is Rarely Penalized
"The number of employers prosecuted for unlawfully employing immigrants dropped from 182 in 1999 to four in 2003, and fines collected declined from $3.6 million to $212,000, according to federal statistics." "In 1999, the United States initiated fines against 417 companies. In 2004, it issued fine notices to three." What the hell is up with this? Ha!! It doesn't work. Plain and simple. Politically and economically, it isn't an option anymore. Case in point? The great 1998 Vidalia onion harvest bust in Georgia. In that raid, the Feds "netted 4,034 illegal immigrants, prompting other unauthorized workers to stay home." The onions sat in the fields. All $90 million worth. Farmers screamed bloody murder, the raids stopped, the onions got picked. Same with the meatpackers and the 1999 raids [Operation Vanguard] on the plants in the midwest. According to Mark Reed, then INS director of operations, when some plants shut down as a result, "'all hell broke loose'". "Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns (R), who was governor at the time, appointed a task force to oppose the operation. Former governor Ben Nelson (D), now a U.S. senator, was hired as a lobbyist by meatpackers and ranchers. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) pressured the Justice Department to stop." "Members of Congress at first hostile to immigrants embraced 'all the same people who were so repugnant to them before,' Reed said, 'and they prevailed.' Operation Vanguard -- which was designed to expand to four states in four months and nationwide the next year, eventually including the lodging, food and construction industries -- was killed." "Congress 'came to recognize that these people . . . had become a very important part of their community, churches, schools, sports, barbecues, families -- and most importantly the economy,' Reed said. 'You've got to be careful what you ask for.'" Because you just might end up getting it.


Post a Comment