The Obama Administration takes a sensible step in the direction of comprehensive immigration reform by targeting employers in cracking down on the practice of hiring undocumented workers. Workplace raids during the Bush Administration led to thousands of deportation cases that irresponsibly tore apart families without solving at all for the root of problem. As Kate Riley of the Seattle Times writes, "The U.S. government must take responsibility for conditions that led to, even fostered, a market for workers without legal resident status."
“When you remove the emotion from the debate, no one can argue that it is in the best interest of public safety to keep [undocumented immigrants] living in the shadows.” Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo
"I'm confident if we enter into this with the notion that this is a nation of laws that have to be observed and this is a nation of immigrants, then we're going to create a stronger nation for our children and our grandchildren." President Barack Obama
The Seattle Times reports study findings on potential losses to the U.S. economy if undocumented workers were removed. OneAmerica, a Seattle-based advocacy organization, asserts that $46 billion could be lost in expenditures for Washington State alone. Perryman Group estimates that removing these workers would wipe from the U.S. economy annually $1.8 trillion in spending and $652 billion in output.
Police chiefs from major U.S. cities have provided a timely impetus for immigration reform, calling for the overhaul of immigration policy. Chief John Timoney of Miami, Chief Art Acevedo of Austin, and former Chief Art Venegas of Sacramento argue that local law enforcement must be kept separate from immigration enforcement to build trust in communities and to most efficiently make use of local police departments' limited resources. The Chiefs emphasize once again that the violation of immigration law is a civil offense, stating at a news conference that those who call illegal immigrants “criminals" are misreading the law and hurting their own communities by scaring neighbors who could identify criminals.
Walter Lara, honors student and an undocumented Argentinian immigrant who moved to the United States with his parents when he was three, has become the focus of the national campaign in support of the Dream Act. His deportation, originally scheduled for July 6, has been postponed. Click here, for a glimpse of Walter Lara's story.