Immigration Enforcement Loopholes
For all of the federal government’s gains in immigration enforcement — Immigration and Customs Enforcement will deport a record 400,000 people this fiscal year — ICE officials have always said full enforcement is impossible.
For one thing, there are likely too many illegal immigrants in the U.S. to track down and deport all of them, as Obama said in July. ICE Director John Morton said last week Congress supplies enough funding to remove about 400,000 people per year.
These budget constraints mean ICE has focused in on deporting criminals and penalizing companies that hire undocumented workers. But these efforts, too, are imperfect, as The Arizona Republic reported today:
It’s not hard, experts say, for an illegal immigrant with high-quality fake identification to collect a paycheck. An undocumented worker could remain on a company’s payroll a few days or indefinitely, especially if he or she uses a matching name and Social Security number taken from a friend or relative, or stolen. [...]
Because the existing safeguards can’t stop every illegal worker, the risk of getting caught is the greatest deterrent for workers or employers who may want to skirt the rules.
The Arizona Republic also ran a useful chart explaining some of the loopholes of each type of immigration enforcement:
Many people have argued Congress should focus on enforcement before it can make other reforms to the immigration system. But as the chart shows, full enforcement of illegal immigration is next to impossible — begging the question of what level of enforcement will be considered sufficient to start tackling immigration reform.