The incomparably entertaining Rick
Sanchez, former Miami news anchor, not only got a great gig with CNN , but he’s done quite well since being somewhat giggled out of South Florida. Recently, Rick anchored a piece covering the changes in immigration
enforcement patterns being seen already in the Obama Administration. It was a good story and I thought it was
worth a mention.
Basically, as we all saw, the so-called “First 100 Days” of
President Obama’s emerging legacy has been spent in large part with the
dismantling of former President Bush’s hodge-podge of ill-conceived
policies. In the area of immigration
policy, it is notable that Mr. Obama has not only looked “within” (as in with
internal migratory policy) but also “without” (as in eliminating the
mean-spirited and just-plane-stupid restrictions which kept my 87 year old
mother from visiting her 89 year old cousin in Cuba because she was a
cousin…not a sister; sadly, as I was looking into FINALLY taking my mother back
to Cuba for one final visit, her cousin died, only days after the rule change.)
But what you care about . more than likely, is how Obama’s folks are
handling the “within” immigration issues…especially in the area of
enforcement. As my employer clients are
well aware, I have written quite often about the incongruity seen in Bush’s
final months in office: a
supposedly-business friendly administration out on an aggressive “seek and
deport” mission which left hundreds if not thousands of U.S. employers without
the workers they needed…and facing massive fines. Companies like Tyson Foods were rocked to the
point of serious economic turmoil as a result of large scale raids targeting
those undocumented evil chicken pluckers, here to steal jobs away from the
American workers who covet them.
Trust me: you’ve eaten very few chickens which have been
plucked and processed by someone not having a Hispanic or Asian last name.
Well, according to Rick and his guest expert, the raids are
slowing down significantly and as the expert put it, it is “a good start”. (I should point out that his opinion is in direct conflict with that of the corporate labor bar, which lives pretty in terror of the pro-worker policies they anticipate from the Obama Administration.)
But if Rick's expert was correct, it would appear that during this crisis of
unemployment a reduction in enforcement raids is politically risky for our new President. Regardless, it is certainly the right thing to do. Our current chaotic rules linking E-Verify with
random audits, nebulous I-9 enforcement policies and SSA “No Match” letters has devolved into that state which Jeff Foxworthy calls “sheer pandelerium”.
Ignorance of the law IS an excuse when those enforcing the laws don’t
understand the law themselves, as is the case today.
Of course, the LAST thing the Obama administration wants is
more hysteria by the Glenn Becks of the world, so a publised policy of curtailed
raids will not be making the headlines anytime soon. I have long said that if the government took
half the money it spends prosecuting undocumented but otherwise hardworking
unskilled laborers and leaving the businesses which have no choice but to hire them
and spent that money teaching employers
how to readily comply, it would be the beginning of the end of the problem.
The great irony if a reduction in raids is indeed what will happen: the
President who has been absurdly accused of being "Marxist" by the most patently ignorant sectors of the neocon base has, with this subtle
change in policy, squarely proven himself to be the true friend of
beleaguered U.S. employers.