Obama Reviews Predecessor's Tools to Enforce Immigration Policies

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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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