Bonzer Wolf™ (bonzerwolf) wrote,
Bonzer Wolf™

Speaker Pelosi Calls for an End to Worksite Enforcement

At a press conference on November 5th, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated that she supports an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worksite enforcement operations, arguing that they have intensified the importance of advancing amnesty legislation. Pelosi asked, "How do we end the ICE raids, have a situation where we can end the ICE raids as we put together comprehensive immigration reform?" (CongressDaily, November 10, 2008) A Pelosi spokesperson said the Speaker had long believed that ICE worksite enforcement operations are ineffective and "unnecessarily divide families at the expense of children." (Id.) The spokesperson also said the Speaker "supports a bipartisan solution that protects our borders, enforces our laws, unites families and creates a path to legalization." (Press Conference Transcript, November 5, 2008)

Pelosi's comments drew the ire of the Ranking Members of the two House committees with primary jurisdiction over immigration-related legislation. Representative Peter King (R-NY), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, disagreed with the Speaker: "The last thing we should be talking about is ending ICE raids. We need more enforcement, not less." (CongressDaily, November 10, 2008) Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (R-TX) commented as well, saying that "instead of criticizing, the Speaker should be commending ICE for protecting American jobs by ensuring that they don't go to illegal immigrants, targeting identity thieves and holding employers accountable." (Id.) Smith concluded: "I'm troubled that the Speaker seems to be more concerned with the welfare of illegal immigrants than of the U.S. citizens who have to compete against them for jobs." (Id.)

With President-elect Barack Obama set to assume office on January 20th, 2009, and a newly-elected, Democratic-majority Congress scheduled to convene two weeks prior to that, Pelosi's comments have set the stage for a possible battle over worksite enforcement in the upcoming legislative session. Some Congressional aides have said that they are worried Obama will choose a new ICE director who will not make worksite enforcement operations a high priority - a move they would view as a major mistake. (Id.) The President-elect's campaign website, however, suggests that Obama supports the enforcement of immigration laws. According to the site, Obama advocates employer sanctions: "To remove incentives to enter the country illegally, we need to crack down on employers that hire undocumented immigrants." (President-elect Obama's Campaign Website)

Tags: feds, ice, libertarian, politics

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