The Obama Administration has begun a series of investigations aimed at hitting employers who hire illegal immigrants, notifying businesses of plans to audit their I-9 forms. I-9 forms are forms that every worker needs to fill out in order to be employed legally. This is a great first step in terms of getting the Obama Administration on track in terms of immigration reform- illegal immigrants largely come here for economic reasons, so it makes since to enforce the law from the workplace. The danger, however, is that the Obama Administration will use clamping down on employers as a means of sneaking an amnesty through the door this fall. If Obama’s campaign rhetoric and his immigration meeting with lawmakers last week is any indicator, this is a very likely scenario.
The U.S. does need to ensure that employers are following immigration laws. That is why we have great programs like E-Verify which makes screening employees easier, and at little cost to the employer. Robert Rector talked about the benefits of E-Verify in his Backgrounder, Reducing Illegal Immigration through Employment Verifications, Enforcement and Protection. But this isn’t the end of the road for immigration enforcement. The border needs secured, and we need to keep up workplace raids and other measures which identifying those individuals here in the U.S. illegally. Heritage experts share this plan in their Backgrounder, Next Steps for Immigration Reform and Workplace Enforcement.
Looking tough on immigration law isn’t the same as being tough and Obama has yet to clearly layout an immigration plan. The right approach to immigration is one that enforces the law, protects Americans, brings in new legal immigrants, and keeps everyone safer. Obama’s strategy should include all of the above.