Obama Reviews Predecessor's Tools to Enforce Immigration Policies

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

President Obama has endorsed several immigration enforcement tools used by his predecessor but emphasizes cracking down on illegal immigrants who commit non-immigration crimes and on employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has reviewed these Bush administration policies:

-- Operation Streamline. A "zero-tolerance" program that charges all people caught illegally crossing parts of the U.S.-Mexico border. This program will continue.

-- Secure Communities. Seeks to deport dangerous illegal immigrant criminals by checking the immigration status of all people in local jails. This program will expand.

-- Work site raids may continue, but the government will give priority to prosecuting employers, and workers will not be detained without indictments, warrants or a commitment from prosecutors to target managers.

-- No-match letters are intended to pressure companies to resolve discrepancies over 8.7 million workers with suspect Social Security numbers or fire those workers. This program was put on hold by a federal judge, and the Obama administration has not indicated it will revive it.

-- E-Verify. An electronic system employers can use to check workers' documents against government databases. This system will be required of federal contractors with contracts over $100,000 unless Obama halts the expansion.

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