by William Teach | January 16, 2018 6:45 am
Causing panic is a major point of raiding workplaces that employ illegal aliens
(NY Times) The Trump administration is taking its campaign against illegal immigration to the workplace.
The raids by federal agents on dozens of 7-Eleven convenience stores last week were the administration’s first big show of force meant to convey the consequences of employing undocumented people.
“We are taking work-site enforcement very hard,” said Thomas D. Homan, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in a speech in October. “Not only are we going to prosecute the employers who knowingly hire the illegal aliens, we are going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers.”
In reality, raiding workplaces is nothing new. It happened under Obama, Bush 43, Clinton, etc. The only difference here is that the Trump administration is making a slightly bigger deal in doing it.
When agents raid workplaces, they often demand to see employees’ immigration documents and make arrests. But after the agents leave, it is difficult for the government to meaningfully penalize businesses that hire unauthorized immigrants.
Instead, according to law enforcement officials and experts with differing views of the immigration debate, a primary goal of such raids is to dissuade those working illegally from showing up for their jobs — and to warn prospective migrants that even if they make it across the border, they may end up being captured at work.
And that right there is a big problem. Not the part about dissuading, but the part about not being able to penalize businesses. I have long stated that the law should be changed so that businesses can be slapped with civil and criminal penalties. Several sections of current law sort of applies, but not to a point of a serious deterrent.
Targeting 7-Eleven, a mainstay in working-class communities from North Carolina to California, seems to have conveyed the intended message.
“It’s causing a lot of panic,” said Oscar Renteria, the owner of Renteria Vineyard Management, which employs about 180 farmworkers who are now pruning grapevines in the Napa Valley.
When word of the raids spread, he received a frenzy of emails from his supervisors asking him what to do if immigration officers showed up at the fields. One sent a notice to farmhands warning them to stay away from 7-Eleven stores in the area.
“Our work force frequently visits 7-Elevens,” said Mr. Renteria. “They’re very nervous. It’s another form of reminding them that they’re not welcome.”
Well, if they’re lawfully present, they shouldn’t be nervous. If they aren’t legally present, well, Mr. Renteria should probably expect a visit from ICE at some point soon, because I bet at least one ICE worker read this article.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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