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Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop
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'Enforcement' of Immigration Laws Already Here


Have you noticed that our immigration laws are finally being enforced? That illegal immigration is way down? That employers hiring undocumented workers are finally being punished? And that this is being done in the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama? If not, take note.

Washington's 2007 "Grand Bargain" on immigration crashed and burned mostly for the following reason: The public thought that the federal government would do the amnesty part — letting millions of illegal immigrants become citizens — but not the enforcement part — taking the ban on hiring undocumented workers seriously.

A parade of successful amnesties and failed enforcement efforts had soured Americans on such "bargains." Polls suggest that most would go along with another amnesty, if it's truly the last one. Toward that end, many Americans call for "enforcement first": Show us you mean it, and then we'll work on legalizing the status of most undocumented workers.

Even during the plush times, mass illegal immigration was unfair to low-skilled Americans. While wages rose for most job categories during labor shortages, they stayed flat or fell for dishwashers or others who competed with a flood of unauthorized foreign workers. With high unemployment now, there's no excuse for going easy on illegal labor other than the humanitarian one. The great majority are good, hard-working people who have established lives here. Sure, they broke laws with phony Social Security cards and under-the-table arrangements, but these were laws that previous administrations — particularly that of George W. Bush — held in contempt.

The Bush administration would rough up some illegal immigrants in factory raids and put them in cuffs. Sometimes they separated parents from their children. If you wanted to create the perfect visuals for turning off the public to immigration enforcement, this was it.

But it wasn't real enforcement at all. Only a handful of factories were raided, and their owners emerged largely untouched.

The Obama administration has been far less dramatic but far more effective. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has done thousands of "silent raids" on employee records. A company found to employ illegal workers must let them go and pay a fine. Many are now returning to their native countries.

ICE is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Its secretary, former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, knows all about the chaos unleashed by open borders.

Here's an example of how the enforcement works, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal: An illegal immigrant couple from Mexico lost their good-paying jobs cleaning offices following a silent raid on the Minneapolis company that employed them. They took a less attractive position with a smaller janitorial service, but the feds audited that company's employment records, and so they were out of another job. They then worked for a cleaning company known for paying less than the minimum wage. ICE went after that company, as well.

As of early this month, ICE was auditing 2,393 companies. That's the largest number in any fiscal year, and a message to both would-be illegal immigrants and those who hire them. The chances of getting caught are no longer minuscule.

With confidence growing in immigration enforcement, the time should be approaching for the second step, legalization. The administration's new policy of not deporting young illegal immigrants headed for college or the armed forces on a case-by-case basis is a start, but full comprehensive reform must be the end.

A better system would emphasize the skills our economy needs. And it would make current labor market conditions a factor in setting immigration numbers (amazingly, not now done). Fixing our immigration program is a mighty task, but the Obama administration has already done the hardest part.

To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




7 Comments | Post Comment
"We ARE using MASSIVE third world
immigration to destroy British culture
beyond repair, once and for all --FOREVER."
Fmr PM/ Globalist/ Cultural EUGENIST/ ----Future EU President?
(Daily Mail interview)
Of course the RIIA/CFR 'continuity of agenda reigns here
as well. America is to be taken down to third world de-in-dust-real-eyes-a-shun.
Mexico's already been collapsed --even as we've sent our manufacturing
jobs to our 'fave' creditors across the Pacific.
----------------CALL US when you're ready to use the the T--word.
Comment: #1
Posted by: free bee
Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:06 PM
How does an illegal alien couple get TWO more jobs after being identified as illegal. "Enforcement" would have deported them after the first time.
Comment: #2
Posted by: David Henricks
Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:31 AM
Have you noticed that immigration is down because of an economy not worth leaving home for? It's like surveying the after effect of a tornado and saying "Gee did you notice the pretty rainbow?" Grasping at straws today.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Tom
Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:56 AM
I think the answer is to stop the illegal crossings before they become a problem. Should stop drug traffic and those crossing the border illegally for other reasons.

It can be done, if you're old enough you'll recall how we closed the borders during WWII. Of course American troops were protecting Americans, not Afghani's and Iraqi's who could care less if we are there, and use American Kids for target practice.

Comment: #4
Posted by: Einstein
Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:35 AM
Another lib article. The libs just never give up or really get it! I don't want to embrace the Mexican culture and live in a third world country. Illegals will not assimilate. They are uneducated and ignorant. Isn't my job to educate them and I will not move down to their level. I don't feel sorry for them being separated. They knew that when they came here to spring an anchor baby on us and gain all the benefits (working the system is one area where they are not ignorant). Tony Blair is right on. Give the dishwashing jobs and mowing lawns back to the working students. No sympathy for them in this quarter. Adios..good-bye-bye to them. And the sooner the better!

Charlie Holmes USMC Viet Nam
Comment: #5
Posted by: Charlie
Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:56 AM
Froma, you certainly know how to spin it. Obama and most of his administration should be impeached for not living up to the oaths they took to defend the constitution and enforce the laws of the US. They want to give the impression of enforcement by going after the employers yet leave identified illegal immigrants in the US ignoring their crime and worse 'potentially' denying them employment. This a very strange liberal approach... eliminate their jobs, keep them in the country, and either starve them or put them on welfare. Bizarre! This is all a big show and is a scam on the American public. Obama needs to live up to his oath and work to change the laws that he believes are unfair through legitimate process... not back door tricks and omissions. This has to be the most disingenuous administration in our history.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Juan
Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:49 PM
In 2008 while campaigning for office Obama promised the Hispanics that he would pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform during his first year. Although he controlled the house, senate and was President he failed to keep his promise. Why?
Comment: #7
Posted by: Cheetah
Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:11 PM
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Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 13 Feb 2016
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