By Reynold N. Mason JD
Atlanta, Aug.18, 2011 President Obama is once again in full election mode. And once again immigration is a hot topic over which the country remains divided. On the right, Republicans are calling for tougher enforcement measures, including more deportations and stronger border security. On the left, Democrats want comprehensive immigration reform to provide a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country
No hope and little change
In 2008, Barak Obama was the candidate of “hope and change”. But as far as Hispanics are concerned, hopes have been dashed on the shores of hard political reality and the change that the President has wrought is not what they thought it would be. There has been no significant movement toward federal immigration reform since a bipartisan effort died in 2007, blocked by conservative opposition joined by a few democrats. But it has been the subject of a rash of legislation at the state level, and President Obama suggested in May 2011 that he was prepared to make it an issue in the coming presidential campaign. Tennessee, Arizona, Indiana, Utah Georgia, Alabama and several other states have enacted tough anti-immigration laws, since Mr. Obama was elected. But on the federal level there has been nothing but inertia bothering on indifference.
Other than suing Arizona to block its immigration law, and Georgia and Alabama to seek injunctions against those states’ tough immigration laws, the President cannot point to anything positive or affirmative on the federal level that his administration has done to the benefit of immigrants whose cause he promised to give his attention. It has been a strategy of all parry and no thrust. The promissory utterance made in 2008, “When I'm president, I will put comprehensive immigration reform back on the nation's agenda. And I will not rest until it is passed once and for all." now rings hollow. Not only is comprehensive immigration not back on the agenda, the truth is it never was. That is because Mr. Obama felt that democrats “did not have the stomach for it” after he had expended all of his political capital pushing health care whch most immigrants are not able to access..
A wink and a nod
In the beginning the president appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and Hilda Solis to his cabinet as Labor Secretary. But beyond those appointments it is difficult to separate any- thing the president has done on immigration, from what any staunch conservative might have. In his less than two years in office, the president has deported three times as many immigrants as president Bush did in his entire term. He has ramped up his Secure Communities Program, in which States share fingerprints of all arrestees with the FBI. The FBI then uses the information and cross checks it against its list of persons who have violated the law. Mr. Obama claims that his administration’s focus is on criminal immigrants. But the President has deported more than one million immigrants, including DREAM Act eligible students, since he took office. One group referred to the president as “Deporter-in-Chief.” Hispanic voters, including many newly naturalized immigrants, helped win several swing states for Barack Obama in 2008. These groups have pressed the President Obama to halt workplace raids and to move forward with legislation opening legal pathways for illegal immigrants. But despite early pledges that it would moderate the Bush administration's tough policies, the Obama administration is pursuing an aggressive strategy for an illegal-immigration crackdown that relies significantly on programs started by his predecessor.
The blame game
At a speech before La Raza last month Mr. Obama placed the blame for his inaction on immigration on Republicans and congress saying, “So, yes, feel free to keep the heat on me and keep the heat on Democrats. But here’s the only thing you should know. The Democrats and your President are with you. Don’t get confused about that.” The finger pointing is not likely to win kudos from immigration advocates who are disappointed in the president’s apparent fear to tread on conservative toes, and his unexplained failure to champion immigration reform as promised, even when he had the entire government at his beck and call during his first two years in office. Now that Mr. Obama needs the Latino vote, he’s attempting to close the window and pull the drapes shut to keep his dismal record and his broken promises from seeing the light of day. But many prominent Hispanic leaders aren’t falling for it. Representative Gutierrez, who has authored a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, and is a leader on the issue in congress, was arrested in front the white house last month protesting Mr. Obama’s lack of imitative on immigration. He has said that he doubts he will support the president in his reelection bid.
To his credit the president has followed a policy of benign neglect. While he deports criminal immigrants in record numbers, Department of Homeland Security has a policy of releasing non- criminal aliens, sometimes with work authorization. And in a recent memo Mr. John Morton, director of ICE directed his staff to use discretion when dealing with young people who meet Dream criteria. But the employer audits continue full throttle. Instead of raiding factories, the new technique is to audit the books of employers and force them to fire employees for whom they cannot provide proof of legal status. The headlines speak volumes about the misery and hardship this policy has visited on people who placed their hope in this president.
The information below is taken from news sources. Each party in the report either confessed or was convicted of hiring illegal immigrants. These cases are listed to illustrate the widespread abuse and recently increasing prosecution of companies employing illegal aliens.
Legal and illegal immigrants alike in Colorado's cow country are too scared to return to work after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 11 workers at the Wildcat Dairy in Morgan County for using forged green cards. Of 60 workers, 20 were indicted by a Colorado grand jury as "egregious violators" for using forged documents to get work. While ICE still has warrants out for nine workers, 50 of Wildcat's 60 employees were so scared of being deported that they didn't return to the dairy after the raid.
• August 2011 — George Valvanis, the manager of several Dunkin’ Donuts stores in Maine, pled guilty to employing illegal aliens. As a result of his plea, he was sentenced to 6 months of home confinement, a fine of $64,000 and 5 years of probation with 20 hours of community service per month. (AP August 2, 2011)
• July 2011 — Simon Banda-Mireles, a Mexican who illegally reentered the U.S. after deportation as Jorge DeLarco, pled guilty to harboring 25 to 100 illegal aliens whom he employed in his restaurants in New York and elsewhere. He also admitted to paying those workers less than the minimum wage. He and ten of his restaurant managers were arrested in 2008. To date 6 of the managers have been convicted, and trials are pending for the other 4. Banda-Mireles was sentenced to 46 months in prison, and must pay restitution in the amount of $239,089 to 15 illegal aliens who worked for him. He also agreed to forfeit $70,009 to the government. (Observer, March 30, 2011, USCIS Press Release, July 14, 2011)
• June 2011 — Federal prosecutors have asked for a fine of $475,000 be levied against the owner of a construction contractor who was convicted of knowingly employing illegal alien workers in Louisiana. Randy Weitzel pled guilty on June 3, 2011. Two others convicted at the same time were Woody Brodtmann Jr. and Agustin Arcadia. Proof submitted in the trial included the fact that in 2003 Weitzel allegedly stopped paying a worker under one name and began paying him under another name. (AP June 29, 2011)