JULY 31, 2008
Democrats on the crucial House committee that oversees the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Justice Department have joined illegal immigrant advocates in calling for an end to federal raids at businesses that knowingly hire large numbers of illegal workers.
Although the House Judiciary Committee is charged with overseeing the administration of justice within federal law enforcement entities, Democrat members are demanding that the Homeland Security agency in charge of immigration enforcement (Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE) stop doing its job.
In fact, at a recent hearing the California Democrat (Zoe Lofgren) who chairs the House Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, blasted the Bush Administration for conducting what her entire party describes as harsh and punitive immigration raids. The Democrats called special attention to a recent raid at an Iowa meatpacking plant where nearly 400 illegal workers were arrested.
More than 300 illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico and Central America, were eventually charged with Social Security fraud for using illegal Social Security numbers as well as aggravated identity theft. Representative Lofgren complained at the hearing that federal agents rounded up the workers and they were “herded into a cattle arena and prodded down a cattle chute, coerced into guilty pleas and then to federal prison.”
One prominent member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Democrat Luis Gutierrez of Chicago, called the raid “pandering” to “anti-immigrant extremists and conservative pundits.” He added that an immigration system predicated on fear tactics and piecemeal deportation-only policy only worsens the immigration crisis by tearing the fabric of our society.
The fact is that aggressive workplace raids have busted large rings of criminal illegal immigrants throughout the country, many of whom stole the identities of unsuspecting Americans to get their job. The crackdown has also led to a marked decline in the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S., according to a report published this week by a renowned research organization that studies the impact of immigration in the United States.
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