CIRS Blog about Rural California
At least 40 workers at Bee Sweet Citrus in Fowler lost their jobs after federal immigration agents began checking employee records recently, searching for people who are not legally allowed to work in the United States.
The enforcement action is part of an ongoing effort by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to make sure employers aren’t knowingly hiring someone who is undocumented.
James Schwab, ICE spokesman, said the work site enforcement is nothing new and remains a priority of special agents with Homeland Security Investigations to ensure employers are in compliance with the law.
Posted on the McClatchy website on Thursday, September 5, 2013
WASHINGTON — Farmers’ congressional allies are pressuring the Obama administration to ease up on some immigration work-site enforcement, underscoring a conflict at the heart of a broad-based immigration bill.
This week, spurred by complaints from farmers in California’s Central Valley, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein publicly urged the Department of Homeland Security to “redirect” immigration enforcement efforts toward “serious violent crimes” instead of “legitimate agricultural employers and their workers.”
“The reality is that the majority of farmworkers in the U.S. are foreign-born and unauthorized, which is well-known,” Feinstein wrote Tuesday, adding that she’s “afraid that this aggressive worksite enforcement strategy will deprive the agricultural sector of most of its workforce.”
Worksite monitoring has definitely heated up.
Since 1997, the United States has deported 4 million people - twice as many as the sum total of all people deported between 1892 and 1996.
The rise in deportations (removals) after 1996 was due to a change in laws. However, the more recent increase is not because of any legislative changes. Instead, it is a direct consequence of Congress appropriating increasing amounts of money for immigration law enforcement. Congress appropriates these funds because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requests them.
In 2011, some notable government actions influenced immigration policy across the US. The federal Secure Communities program came under fire, five more states, following Arizona’s lead, enacted independent immigration laws and deportations reached an unprecedented high level.