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Workplace Raids, Pelosi, and Me

Enforcing immigration laws and holding people accountable for their actions is the American way. Or at least it should be.

by
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Bio

March 29, 2009 - 12:45 am
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Pelosi is wrong. Enforcing the law and holding people accountable for their actions is the American way. Or at least it should be. In fact, there’s no good argument for not carrying out workplace raids. If we’re going to have immigration laws, they have to be enforced or else why have them on the books? And enforcing the law doesn’t just mean putting guards and cameras on the border. It means following illegal immigrants into the interior of the United States and, if necessary, to their workplace.

The tragedy of the raids isn’t that families are separated. That’s the fault of parents who put children in a precarious position. Separation happens when mommy shoplifts or daddy robs banks. The real tragedy is that often in these raids, the employers get off scot-free. In the few cases where employers were punished following a raid, the agency doling out the penalty wasn’t U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but the U.S. Labor Department or the Internal Revenue Service. That’s fine. If labor laws or tax laws were also violated in these cases, the guilty should be brought to justice. But it’s no substitute for holding employers accountable, under the law, when they knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

While Gutierrez and Pelosi rail against immigration raids, they have to swallow the fact that the man they helped put in the White House may no longer be on board with their view. Barack Obama criticized immigration raids when pandering to Hispanic groups during the campaign. But since he became president, his administration has already carried out a raid. It happened a few weeks ago, in Bellingham, WA, where ICE agents swarmed Yamato Engine Specialists, a machinery plant, and arrested 28 illegal immigrants.

So, Nancy Pelosi, doesn’t that make the Obama administration “un-American?”

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Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a member of the editorial board of the San Diego Union Tribune, a nationally syndicated columnist, a frequent lecturer, and a regular contributor to CNN.com.
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