A Homeland Security official testified that the reason for the immigration problem is that Congress goes too easy on employers.
Stewart A. Baker, assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, said the numbers tell the story and bear out his charge that employers are getting off too easy:
- In the first nine months of fiscal year 2008, federal agents made 937 criminal arrests at U.S. workplaces, more than 10 times as many as the 72 they arrested five years ago. That’s the good news.
- But out of all those arrests – many made during high-profile raids on companies – only 99 were company officials, a minor increase from the total of 93 in fiscal year 2007.
The conclusion: The laws are structured to allow the government to hammer illegal-immigrant employees but not those who employ them.
A prime example of the enforcement disparity came May 12 when federal agents swept into a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. They arrested 389 illegal workers; 270 were convicted within days in expedited court proceedings, and and many were sentenced to five months in prison, mostly on criminal document-fraud charges.
However, only two company officials were arrested, the firm remains in business.