Headlines: Immigration

Published On: Donate

Obama administration officials are sharpening their crackdown on the hiring of illegal immigrants by focusing increasingly tough criminal charges on employers while moving away from criminal arrests of the workers themselves. While conducting fewer headline-making factory raids, the immigration authorities have greatly expanded the number of businesses facing scrutiny and the cases where employers face severe sanctions. On April 20, immigration agents descended on 14 Chuy’s restaurants in coordinated raids in Arizona and California, detaining kitchen workers and carrying away boxes of payroll books and other evidence. The owners face $10 million in fines. [NYTimes]

The Alabama Legislature has passed an Arizona-style immigration law which will require all businesses to verify the legal status of their new employees. The bill will go to the governor next week. Bills expanding enforcement of immigration laws were introduced in 28 states this year, but passed in just three, Georgia, Utah, and Indiana. A 2008 report commissioned by Americans for Immigration Reform argued that removing all unauthorized workers from the labor force would cut $245 billion in economic output. [Associated Press & Business Week]

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that he was suspending New York’s participation in a federal immigration enforcement plan called Secure Communities saying that it had not only failed to meet its goal of deporting the most serious immigrant criminals but was also undermining law enforcement and compromising public safety. Cuomo’s decision makes New York the second state to announce its intention to withdraw from the program that requires the fingerprints of everyone booked into a local or county jail to be sent to the Department of Homeland Security for comparison with prints in its files. [NYTimes]

San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey will begin releasing illegal immigrants suspected of low-level crimes instead of turning them over to federal authorities starting this week. Hennessey has said the change in policy is a way for San Francisco’s jails to comply with The City’s sanctuary ordinance, which prohibits local officials from cooperating with federal authorities except in the case of suspected felons. [San Francisco Examiner]

A bill called the Safe Students Act introduced in North Carolina this past week would require school principals in the state to ask parents about their child’s citizenship and immigration status when the child is enrolled for the first time. According to the bill, that information would be used only for the state’s financial analysis and not for immigration enforcement. Principals could not deny a child access to school based on immigration status. [The News & Observer]

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