The Corner

DHS Works on Workplaces

This afternoon a senior DHS official will be outlining some sensible reforms to boost the department’s ability to enforce the prohibition on hiring illegal aliens.  To beef up enforcement, additional legal authority is needed.  Cynics, like myself, will ask:  Why now — five years after 9/11 — is the Bush administration finally getting around to being serious about policing worksites and penalizing employers in violation of the law?  While it is true that there could be some political benefit in backing new enforcement measures while pushing for amnesty, it is also true that the recent high-profile debate over immigration reform has provided the political will to see immigration laws enforced.  As an administration source recently pointed out, “The only people who care about immigration policies when the press coverage stops are those who don’t want the law enforced.”  In the absence of an engaged public, the immigration bar and business and civil-rights groups lobby against enforcement, frequently with the help of both the Republican and Democratic politicians who pass immigration laws they have no intention of seeing enforced.  Public pressure has the potential to change that.

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