Issa Blasts ICE Guidelines on Workplace Enforcement

May 1, 2009

Guidelines Sent to Law Enforcement Don’t Match Administration’s Rhetoric

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today blasted new guidelines that could severely limit the ability of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to conduct worksite enforcement against illegal workers.

“While the Administration touts plans for tougher enforcement against employers, they are hiding new restrictions that will abandon enforcing immigration law at worksites where workers may have obtained employment through fraud,” Issa said.

An internal ICE memo outlining the new policy explains that illegal workers can only be apprehended at worksite enforcement operations when a criminal case is place for the employer or special permission is granted:

“Absent exigent circumstances, ICE offices should obtain indictments, criminal arrest or search warrants, or a commitment from a U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) to prosecute the targeted employer before arresting employees for civil immigration violations at a worksite. In the absence of a timely commitment from a USAO, ICE offices should obtain guidance from ICE Headquarters prior to proceeding with a worksite enforcement operation.”

Issa, who strongly supports efforts to enhance penalties and enforcement efforts against employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, criticized the presentation of the new policy by the Administration in an April 30 press release as disingenuous.

“By publicly touting this new initiative as a ‘comprehensive’ strategy that addresses both workers and employers, the Administration has pulled the wool over the eyes of reporters and the American people,” said Issa.  “I know from experience that getting a U.S. Attorney to prosecute immigration cases is often difficult.  Meeting such a high threshold should not be a prerequisite for apprehending and deporting aliens in here illegally.  The Administration is using the guise of employer enforcement to abandon efforts that seek to find and deport illegal aliens.”

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