Napolitano Continues Bush's Punitive Immigration Enforcement Policy

While President Obama said this week that immigration reform will have to wait until next year, his Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has been racheting up former Bush policies of punitive enforcement.

Janet Napolitano, defended the administration’s assertive strategy against illegal immigrants and companies that employ them, relying largely on programs started under President George W. Bush.

....Ms. Napolitano said security problems on the border were inextricably linked not only to the drug trade, but also to the problem of illegal workers in far-flung cities across the country. The government needs to address illegal immigration at the same time it attacks the Mexican mafias, she said.


Critics point out:

“How many more millions if not billions of dollars are we going to put into the border without fixing the immigration system?” asked Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said of Ms. Napolitano, “She’s increasing enforcement of laws that President Obama and she have both said are broken, and the result is going to be a lot of human misery.”

In her speech:

Still, the speech was notable for its lack of a single passage about the positive role many illegal immigrants play in society, a concession that has become standard in most political pronouncements from Democrats on the subject.

And by the numbers:

[S]he pointed out that the Obama administration had outdone the Bush White House. Immigration agents have arrested 181,000 illegal immigrants and deported 215,000 people so far this year. Both figures are double what they were for the same period two years ago, she said.

And while she says the focus is not on arresting the undocumented who have not broken other laws, where is the change? The path to citizenship? The ability to come out of the shadows? A promise to make family reunification a priority?

She's all border control and no reform. Just another top cop exercising muscle.

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    Well, there you go (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by NYShooter on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 04:57:27 PM EST
    The so called illegals (they all have I.D's) are paid exactly the same as citizens. It's not the money; it's the work.

    Not every employer is a wild-eyed, exploiting, greedy pig.

    So, here am, almost all my friends and associates are contractors and farmers. I live this life, and am surrounded by people who do the same. But you guys know better.

    "Pay'em more money," that's your answer. You're also experts on wage/labor issues. So, send me a petition stating you're willing to pay 2.00 per apple, and 50 cents per grape. Oh, and might as will commit to pay $500 to have your driveway sealed.

    Generally, the starting pay is $2.00 above minimum wage, going to $12.00/hr, after a week or two of probation. Brand new employees, if they stay, finish the first year at about 15.00/hr. Age, sex, nationality......makes no difference.

    Please, these are all good people; the employers, and the employees. Most of the employers are small contractors just trying to make ends meet. Sitting at your desks screeching, "pay'em more money," just makes you sound........well, not so bright.

    You make fun of the birthers, and the anti- healthers; and you just widen the gap of understanding that much more. Their ideas may be crazy, but is calling them "idiots" really gonna make them want to listen to anything you want to say. When you start a conversation with, "listen stupid," that's where the conversation ends.

    And for me here today, trying to tell you what is really taking place in this whole immigration/work situation, and your responses.......well, now I know what the Town Hall agitators feel like.

    An LA Times write up of her speech (none / 0) (#1)
    by jerry on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 12:51:39 PM EST
    discussed the dangers of border violence, the seriousness of border violence, how bad border violence is, how we must cooperate with Mexico to reduce border violence,

    and discussed all sorts of ways to go about doing that to reduce border violence.

    except for the one, most obvious step of reducing border violence.

    Thats the game jerry... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 01:15:04 PM EST
    if we actually greatly reduced border violence by taking the obvious steps in drug and immigration law reform, how could Napolitano justify her agency's obscene budget?

    While she was still the governor (none / 0) (#3)
    by hairspray on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 01:32:59 PM EST
    of Arizona I recall that she was tough on border security.  I saw her once chiding someone about criticizing her actions saying that they needed to be in her state and see "what goes on" before they spoke. Those weren't her exact words, but something like that.  I think it was on the Charlie Rose show.  On all of the other topics she was quite progressive and I liked her a lot. She was elected under publicly funded campaign money.  I think Obama chose her precisely because of her background in Arizona.  

    Fair enough... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 02:31:55 PM EST
    I don't live in a border area, but I do live in an area with a large Latin American immigrant population, with papers and without...I find the immigrants to be a net benefit to the community, and more importantly, just human beings like you and me who certainly do not deserve or require the chain and cage treatment.

    The two issues are not the same (none / 0) (#5)
    by nyjets on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 02:05:52 PM EST
    While I can see the merits of drug legalization with respect to border violence (I am not thrilled with the idea but I can see the merit), it is not that simple with illegal immgration.
    The fact is that there are not enough jobs and resources for American citizens. Add in immgrants, legal and illegal, you have a serious problem. Simple making the undocumented legal will create a major problem for the country.

    Not the same... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 02:23:56 PM EST
    but similar...the law does not jive with basic human nature with both issues, creating more problems than they solve.  The basic human nature being the human desire to get high and the human desire to improve your lot in life and go where the getting is good.  You need better reasons than we have for the drug and immigration laws that don't jive with human nature.

    I'm generally an open borders guy, let people come and go as they please...but I'll settle for just removing the chains and cages from the equation for the undocumented.  If they can find jobs they stay, if they can't they keep moving, or head back home.  No cages required.


    I understand that (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 02:30:27 PM EST
    people want to go where the game is good.

    I just want them kept out unless they have signed up with the floor guy and waited until their turn came.


    Still not being realistic.... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 02:41:59 PM EST
    You know how long that list is?  And how incompetent the floorman is?

    Can't help that. If you have no rules (none / 0) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:58:19 PM EST
    you can't have a game.

    Who said no rules? (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 08:35:15 AM EST
    You still can't murder, rape, or rob...and a flush still beats a straight.  You just shouldn't have to provide a 7 digit number and your mother's maiden name to get in the game.

    however, (none / 0) (#11)
    by bocajeff on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 02:43:10 PM EST
    the jobs they find can either be given to:
    1. people that are here legally (immigrant and native born)
    2. people who will not suppress wages out of fear of being reported to ICE.
    3. people who have families to support here. Many undocumented workers have kids that are here that need services such as medical, education, etc...
    4. people in their native countries who are applying to come to this country legally and who can't because others have cut in front of them...

    I'm the child of two immigrant parents and take this stuff seriously. I love that this country is a nation of immigrants. But what would you say if 20 million Chinese or 20 million Germans came over here at once. Don't you think there has to be something resembling order?

    Point by point.... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:36:52 PM EST
    1. If equally qualified, a citizen should have a leg up over a recent immigrant.  Besides, shouldn't the best applicant get the job?  Isn't that how a free market is supposed to work?

    2. That's easy...get John Law off the neck of the undocumented and they won't take abuse from employers...they will have nothing to fear.

    3. Not sure what you're on about here Jeff...that many undocumented don't pay income taxes?  They pay all the other taxes, and ya can hit 'em up for income tax too if ya bring 'em out of the shadows.

    4. It isn't fair to those who try to get approval to come here legally...if we clean up the system, everybody can come and go faster, safer, and in a more orderly fashion.

    If 20 million people cam all at once, they'd leave just as fast because there aren't jobs and affordable places to live for them all...right now many of the undocumented by me are heading home due to lack of work...this sh*t works itself out if ya just let people roam.  I know other countries are even stricter than us with immigration law, but that is there perogative, I'm only concerned with our immigration laws.

    One point (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:51:09 PM EST
    You want John Law to get off people's backs?  So, we should never go after anyone who breaks the law, no matter what they do?  I feel for these people, and I think we need to have better policies regarding these people, but as of right now, if you come across the border without permission and proper documentation, you are committing a crime.

    I want John Law... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:59:33 PM EST
    off the necks of anybody who ain't murdering, raping, or robbing...off the necks of people whose only crime is not having a permission slip to be here, or whose tastes run towards non-state sanctioned vices.

    I agree with many of your points, but (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by hairspray on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 04:27:51 PM EST
    the broader argument in favor of immigration reform is to put some fairness into the system.  Scapegoating or romanticizing the immigrants is counterproductive.  The real issues are that the Mexican government first and foremost has not done right by its citizens.  In fact they love this system because it gets rid of the poor and unskilled and sends back tons of money to their economy.  They use the back door to keep their cushy oligarchy in place. I think most day laborers would rather be in their own land if only they could.  Then we have lots of corporations ready to join in and exploit these people.  It has got to stop!!

    No doubt... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 05:08:31 PM EST
    the way things are works out very well for the top 5% on both sides of the border...all I'm saying (and what you agree with I believe) is lets stop kicking the dog.

    Solving the problem of exploitation is a tougher nut to crack...been with mankind forever, my best guess, and something we haven't tried, is free markets and free movement of people, instead of rigged markets and the denial or over-regimenting of free movement.


    yes, (none / 0) (#17)
    by bocajeff on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:52:22 PM EST
    but things always work themselves out in the long run. It's the short run that's the problem.

    Look, I'm definitely more liberal than you when it comes to legalizing drugs so that's not the issue. And, BTW, the more workers you add to the work force then wages will decrease unless jobs are added at at least an equal pace. The whole supply and demand thing.

    And how do you enforce the outright discrimination of a citizen vs. immigrant in jobs?

    Yes, many undocumented workers don't pay income taxes. Neither do their citizen employers when they are paid "under the table" because they can't get a checking account.


    Point by point (some of them) (none / 0) (#18)
    by nyjets on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:55:43 PM EST
    1. It should go to the most qualified American citizen.
    2. Fair point
    3. Actual many illegals get paid under the table.
    4. We can not handle the excess population. If 20 million came at one, the countyr would be a wreck after they left.

    We can not handle the excess population (none / 0) (#12)
    by nyjets on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:13:48 PM EST
    We can deal with drug addicts and user without criminalizing drug use. We can not handle the large number of illegal immgrants that are coming to this country. We have barily enough jobs and resources for native born American citizens.

    I'll bite... (none / 0) (#6)
    by bocajeff on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 02:10:13 PM EST
    What is proper immigration reform?

    However (none / 0) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:38:16 PM EST
    racheting up, i.e. doing more than Bush did isn't really defensible even in your context, is it?  

    Enough! (none / 0) (#15)
    by NYShooter on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:46:09 PM EST
    Is anyone here an employer? Does anyone here have actual experience regarding the "work" the (presumably illegal) immigrants do?

    Please, get this straight; If every single illegal in this country disappeared today, not a single job they now do would be filled. Yes, there would be millions of job openings, but they would remain just that.....openings.

    Every contractor, farmer, or other employer of these illegals knows this to be the case. But, you don't win friends in this land of Beck and Limbaugh by telling the truth; Americans will not do the work these people do.

    I have a labor intensive business, together with with my son, and I could send one of your children to an Ivy League college with the money I've spent advertising job openings. Let's say there's a pool of 100 eligible, unemployed, native borns out there. About ten would probably apply. Five wouldn't finish the first interview, after getting their questions answered:  "How many breaks do I get?" "Do you allow cell phones?" "How long is vacation?" "How long do we get for lunch?".....you get the picture.
    O.K. That leaves five who give it a shot. Guaranteed, three don't make it to lunchtime the first day. The other two? As the other workers are punching out at the end of the day, someone asks, "hey, where are the new guys?" Poof, gone, disappeared, vanished.

    Now, those are the facts. And please don't come back at me with all the phony, know-nothing moral indignation; "You're a liar!!! My son, Petey....." or, "You don't know what you're talking about! I've got a nephew......." There are always exceptions, but when they're so rare as to be almost non-existent, it does no one any good to divert attention from the cold, hard truth; Native born Americans will not do the work!

    Just yesterday, the Poughkeepsie Journal had an article about just this subject. Poughkeepsie is in the middle of a large fruit growing area. The famers have always used non-native workers (usually Caribbean) to pick the fruit at harvest time. In this article, they are lamenting that even in this horrible depression we're experiencing, they can't fill their job openings. Fruits are just dying on their vines and trees for want of laborers to harvest them. Between the tremendous rainfall this summer, and the horrific H-2A & H2B programs, the farmers are just SOL. The situation is the same in our asphalt business, as it is in construction, eateries, hotels/motels, etc.

    The one good thing GWB did was not crack down too hard on illegal immigration. Rhetoric aside, he, and his advisors knew that if he did actually eliminate illegal border crossings, he would also be eliminating our economy.

    B.S. (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by bocajeff on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:56:12 PM EST
    You could fill the jobs, but it would be at a higher wage than your willing or able to pay.

    In other words...Add a zero to what you are willing to pay an undocumented worker and I bet you will have no trouble finding legal residents to do the job.


    Migrant farm workers (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Fabian on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 04:01:45 PM EST
    could be natives, easily.

    Of course, it would mean that farmers would have to put a little more work into recruiting them, hiring them and.....paying them.  Not many people are going to relocate for a couple months of work.

    If I was to say to you "Come to this place hundreds of miles from home, on your own dime and work for two months, for hourly plus piece work and no benefits.", not that many people would be interested unless those were mighty fine wages.  There's a lot of overhead involved for a mere temp job.

    Now if I was a broker for farm labor and I said "We'll send you around the country, transportation paid, housing provided for a modest fee, health insurance provided, guaranteed employment for ten or eleven months out of the year." then that sounds like something like a real job - not a temp job that you have to pay all of your own expenses for, including travel expenses.

    How many employers expect their seasonal labor to just fall into their laps?  


    I don't mean to be rude (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 04:09:13 PM EST
    but that story about fruit rotting on the vine comes out every year. Especially in conjunction with illegal alien raids.

    And you are telling me that no US citizen will work construction? Really? They did for years and years until the illegals broke the market for well paid union jobs that had things like health insurance.

    This could turn Katrina's aftermath into an immigration issue. In recent years, the U.S. construction industry has become a magnet for Latino immigrants, much more than for any other racial or ethnic group in this country. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, foreign-born Latino workers accounted for 40 percent of the total growth of employment in the construction trades last year. Before Katrina, Hispanics represented only 2 percent of the labor force in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi but held 5 percent of construction jobs, according to the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

    What's more, according to Pew, of the total Hispanic immigrants working in construction last year, nearly two-thirds were "unauthorized.'' Labor specialists argue that these "unauthorized'' -- undocumented or illegal -- immigrants are the very ones willing to work for less than prevailing wages and worse than average conditions, particularly if they are not asked for documentation



    Alotta truth in that... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 03:56:25 PM EST
    though if the wages are high enough I think Americans will do any job...the rub is to make the wages palatable enough to Americans, lettuce might end up costing 50 bucks a head, or an entree at your favorite restaurant running a c-note.

    Like many issues, we want our cake and we want to eat it too...


    I think you are right. We have a poor (none / 0) (#27)
    by hairspray on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 04:35:57 PM EST
    work ethic.  The number of people who live connected to their Ipods, phones, etc are not going to pick fruit.  But I also see that we have the largest number of young men in prison than the rest of the world.  Why didn't the system absorb them into unskilled labor when they were young?  How did they get into gangs and crime and end up in prison.  There may not be a connection but there is a HUGE pool of unskilled labor in prison (many who shouldn't even be there) and we are going begging for jobs so we can parole the prisoners. Something is wrong here!!

    something is wrong alright (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 06:17:33 PM EST
    we are a nation too stupid to realize that employing all your citizens at a living wage-plus simply for the sake of employing them IS A GOOD THING.  A great thing.  A thing that will keep us all secure when we are old and feeble and vulnerable.  A thing that would keep the value of the dollar as high as it could be, because there would be confidence in it as a currency not simply made for wealth, but made for the prosperity of the nation as a whole.

    But we'd rather have a casino economy instead.

    It will kill us.


    Before I started my own business (none / 0) (#38)
    by Cards In 4 on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 06:59:10 PM EST
    I worked for a pool company.  When I started there were 3 Mexicans among the 30 crew members.  When I left 3 years later there were 11 Mexicans among the 30.  Of the ones they replaced only 1 American worker was fired for cause - the rest were laid off and not called back.

    I got along great with all the Mexicans but on the jobs they would admit their papers were not all legal and they did not care about immigration reform because it wouldn't change what they do.

    All of the guys the Mexicans replaced were high school dropouts or ex-cons.  Had the Mexicans been able to get a drivers license the owners would have hired more to run their own crews.


    You Called That One Right (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 04:20:47 PM EST
    We did not need another law and order prosecutor to be heading the DHS. Well at least she is not a disappointment, just doing a bad job as expected.

    P.S. (none / 0) (#32)
    by NYShooter on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 05:13:10 PM EST
    My comments are not directed at all responders.

    Some show a glimmer of understanding, so I should have said, "if the shoe fits......."

    And also, I can't speak for the giant agri-businesses, or other large enterprises. But most of the employers aren't Archer Midland.

    Don't demonize all employers with a one-brush-fits-all swath. They're not racists, or greedy exploiters. They bid on contracts, and have to be competitive if they want to stay in business. Like all expenses, they have only so much to allocate to any one area. "Pay'em more," and they don't get the work.

    Again, they are no better, nor worse, than anyone here; they need a job done, and people to do it. To put evil motives on them, without a complete understanding of the situation, is just plain contemptible.

    Employers (none / 0) (#35)
    by Fabian on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 05:24:28 PM EST
    are responsible for finding their employees.

    The gripe "We can't find any workers!" is revealing.  The blame can't be placed on the workers, because you can find story after story of fast food stores or Wal*Mart stores flooded with applicants for job openings.  Low pay, no benefits - what more could you ask for?  Possibly the promise of employment close to home (handy if you have a family to care for) and tenure of employment longer than a few weeks?

    The workers are there.  If the employers are in the middle of nowhere, they need to figure out a way to bring workers to them.  If the employers can't afford to pay more, their business model is in trouble.


    You are wrong (none / 0) (#39)
    by NYShooter on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 07:03:35 PM EST
    The article I spoke about up above addressed that very issue.

    When interviewed, and asked why they wouldn't take farm jobs at 2-5 dollars more per hour, fast food workers said, "I'm not doing that kind of work."

    It's a social/hierarchy structure type thing, and they feel the work is beneath them.

    And the farms are not out there, "nowhere." You can watch them picking peaches right from your table at Arby's.


    Ah. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Fabian on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 07:58:55 PM EST
    People do "that kind" of work all the time.  Landscape work, lawn care are both outside labor and often not pleasant working conditions either.  Yet I don't hear landscape contractors whine that they can't find employees.  Maybe instead of interviewing people who work inside, they should have interviewed people who work outside for a living and ask them if they would do ag work instead?

    An open border in this economy (none / 0) (#41)
    by Cream City on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 08:53:27 PM EST
    could work better, in some ways, per what kdog (as I recall) says above -- that with the job losses, some "illegals" would go back to their countries.

    That is, if they could do so without facing the risks and horrors and costs again later of trying to get back here to rejoin family and friends.  I know several for whom this is so, if they could again cross the Rio Grande as they did in the old days when it was just a river through THEIR country rather than -- after we took a third of their country by nefarious means -- a river that became a border and barrier between countries.

    Border control may be keeping more in this country, who would again be able to go back and forth for seasonal employment, than are kept out.

    It will not work (none / 0) (#42)
    by nyjets on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 10:11:58 PM EST
    The illegal aliens coming to this country would be taking jobs that can be used to employ American Citizens.
    Yes, we stole land from Mexico. I will not dispute that. The US has a bloody history. But it is now our land. That is the way it is. We need to patrol the border if we age going to protect our econmy.Because make no mistake about it, out economy can not handle any more increases in population.