In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal describes audits conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as “silent raids.” ICE audits have increased dramatically under the Obama administration as reported in 2009 by the New York Times. In April, 2009, the Obama administration shifted the focus of workplace enforcement from arresting undocumented workers to pressuring employers. During the audits, ICE agents review I-9 forms that verify an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States.
Critics of this policy contend that raids do nothing to address our nation’s broken immigration system but, instead, force immigrant workers with steady, paid employment into the underground economy. In many cases, the undocumented workers do not actually face removal proceedings or leave the country voluntarily – a point of criticism cited by conservatives. The Wall Street Journal quoted Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas as saying, “audits are not much of a deterrent because undocumented workers just walk down the street and get another job.”
Critics of the policy have a point. Increased audits or “silent raids” and employer sanctions are not addressing the problems of our nation’s broken immigration system; undocumented workers remain exploited and without the ability to attain legal permission to work. Although the audits serve to sanction employers, the policy provides no solution for the millions of undocumented workers who are performing jobs on which our economy depends. Read the Wall Street Journal article here.
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