Obama Illegal Immigration Silent Work Raid Policy Not Working

Matt Mayer /

Last week in The Wall Street Journal, Miriam Jordan writes that “Fresh Raids Target Illegal Hiring.” While a quick glance would leave readers with the impression that President Obama’s illegal immigration work raid policy is working, the problems with the policy sneak into the article in two places.

First, Jordan notes: “While the audits don’t lead to the deportation of a firm’s illegal workers, they all lose their jobs.” As we’ve previously written (here, here, and here), failing to deport illegal immigrants apprehended during a work raid undermines any effort to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the United States and ultimately results in those illegal immigrants simply finding another job in the same city or in a different city. This approach just kicks the can down the road.

It also leads to the second problem: “Attorneys who advise audited companies report that some employers are being subjected to a second audit. ‘I have several clients who were audited once, complied and were then audited again six months to a year later,’ said Wendy Madden, a business immigration attorney.”

If the silent work raid policy is working, the Obama Administration wouldn’t have to re-audit a company six months later. The employer, like the employee, knows that a return to the status quo will happen once the feds leave town.

Instead of trying to be too clever by half, the Obama Administration should return to the work raid policy used by the Bush Administration in its last two years that punished scofflaw employers and resulted in the deportation of illegal immigrants. That policy was, well, actually working.