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Recent Immigration Raids -- Really About Identity Theft?
Columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. has an opinion piece at CNN online today in which he attributes a sinister motive to the "spin" Immigration and Customs Enforcement put on the recent raids at Swift & Company's meat packing plants in several states. Navarrette objects to the depiction of the raids as a crackdown on identity theft. Excerpts from the article:
The worry used to be that illegal immigrants were stealing welfare. Then it was jobs. Now, we're told, they're stealing people's identities.
For as long as anyone can remember, illegal immigrants have been working with the aid of bogus Social Security numbers. And this was seen for what it was -- a violation of U.S. immigration law.
But last week, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement rounded up 1,282 illegal immigrants by raiding meat processing plants in six states -- Colorado, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Utah -- the operation was marketed as a crackdown on identity theft.
Why spin this as a crackdown on identity theft? That has a sinister ring to it, as if illegal immigrants were using stolen credit cards and withdrawing money from ATMs. More than likely, the extent of it was that people were using Social Security numbers that didn't belong to them so they could work at dirty jobs that Americans wouldn't do -- just as they have for generations, before the phrase "identity theft" entered the national lexicon.
Of course, if this were presented as an immigration crackdown, people might ask: Why were no charges filed against the employer -- Swift & Co? The world's second-largest meat processing company has "never condoned the employment of unauthorized workers, nor ... knowingly hired such individuals," Swift & Co. President and CEO Sam Rovit said in a statement.
Note the word: knowingly. Rovit didn't just fall off the meat wagon. He's read the statute. The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act made it a crime to "knowingly" hire illegal immigrants.
That's a monster loophole. Suddenly, whenever there is a raid, no one knows anything. Illegal workers? Who? What? Where?
It's cynical, and it's the sort of thing that makes it hard to believe that Americans are serious about combating illegal immigration. How can we be if we don't address the problem at its source?
For more information about immigration news, immigration laws, immigration policies, proposed immigration laws, border enforcement, green cards, citizenship, employment visas, family visas, naturalization, and other immigration subjects, please visit Immigration Law Answers and DFW Immigration Law Blog.
From Immigration-Law-Answers-Blog posted 2006-12-18.