Obama may ease ICE raids

A story by Josh Meyer and Anna Gorman titled “Homeland Security shifts focus to employers” appeared in the Los Angeles Times.  The story reads, in part:

Stepping into the political minefield of immigration reform, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano soon will direct federal agents to focus more on arresting and prosecuting American employers than the illegal laborers who sneak into the country to work for them…

The policy is in line with comments that President Obama made during last year’s campaign, when he said enforcement efforts had failed because they focused on illegal immigrants rather than on the companies that hired them…

Homeland Security officials emphasized that the department would not stop conducting sweeps of businesses while more structural changes to U.S. immigration law and policy were being contemplated.

Agents, however, will be held to a higher standard of probable cause for conducting raids, the officials said, out of concern that at least one recent raid in Washington state and another planned sweep in Chicago were based on speculative information that illegal workers were employed…

Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said the Obama administration also needed to target employers who did not pay minimum wage and who exposed workers to unsafe conditions. But she said she hoped the new guidelines would mark a good first step by halting mass raids.

“What happened during the Bush administration is unconscionable,” she said. “At the end of the day, it really targeted a group of vulnerable workers who just were trying to bring the food to the table.”

For the full story, click here.

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