Quiet Enforcement With No Real Solution

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration has launched a quiet attack on illegal immigration. The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement division [ICE] has been auditing firms, rechecking employment data. Two companies in recent months, Chipotle and Harvard Maintenance, have laid off around 1,000 workers.

Critics of U.S. immigration policies on the left and right take issue with such aduits b the Obama administration, also known as silent raids. They say that as a practical matter, the raids shilft illegal immigrants with relatively well-paying jobs into the underground economy. Cnservative would rather deport the immigrants; others call for a path to U.S. citizenship.

The WSJ article profiles a man who lost a job that paid him $14 dollars an hour but who says that he and his co-workers who have been laid off would rather be in the U.S. unemployed than return home. And that's where the issue lies. While the Obama administration deserves some credit for not going in guns blazing like the Bush administration did in raids that tore families apart at farms in the Midwest, it shows that there's a subsection of individuals in the U.S. who are part of an underground economy and culture with no means of improving their situation.

So what some might say -- maybe these people take low-skilled jobs and get by. How's this for a statistic, though? At one firm, ABM Industries, a survey of 200 laid-off workers showed that only 6 percent were considering leaving the United States. Among the 200 workers, there were 760 children born in the United States. These are citizens without parents who have the authority to work and support them.

Already, 65,000 children a year are graduating from high school without legal papers in the United States. Some go to college and some don't. It's a waste of talent and opportunity, and it's growing into a national crisis.