Obama administration moves from deterring illegals to criminalizing employers

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NY Times:

Obama administration officials are sharpening their crackdown on the hiring of illegal immigrants by focusing increasingly tough criminal charges on employers while moving away from criminal arrests of the workers themselves.

After months of criticism from Republicans who said President Obama was relaxing immigration enforcement in workplaces, the scope of the administration’s strategy has become clear as long-running investigations of employers have culminated in indictments, convictions, exponentially increased fines and jail sentences. While conducting fewer headline-making factory raids, the immigration authorities have greatly expanded the number of businesses facing scrutiny and the cases where employers face severe sanctions.

In a break with Bush-era policies, the number of criminal cases against unauthorized immigrant workers has dropped sharply over the last two years.

Among the employers who have felt the impact of the administration’s tactics are two owners of Mexican restaurants in the Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler chain, which are popular for their laid-back Margaritaville mood and their broiled mahi tacos. On April 20, immigration agents descended on 14 Chuy’s restaurants in coordinated raids in Arizona and California, detaining kitchen workers and carrying away boxes of payroll books and other evidence.

But at the arraignment days later in federal court here, no immigrant workers stood before the judge. The only criminal defendants were the owners, Mark Evenson and his son Christopher, and an accountant who worked with them, Diane Ingrid Strehlow. If the Evensons are convicted on all charges against them of tax fraud and harboring illegal workers, they each could face more than 80 years in jail.

That sounds like a disparate sentence when they are letting around 42 illegals walk away to get a job somewhere else rather than being deported. It may deter some employers, but it does nothing to deter illegals or promote self deportation which should be the goal.

Perhaps if they could deport both the employer and the illegals they could really deter illegal immigration. I don't think they will do that, because they see illegals as future Democrat voters. They probably look at the small business owners as Republican voters.
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