It is now clear that the Bush Administration’s priorities for immigration enforcement led to missed opportunities to strengthen immigration enforcement, crackdown on unscrupulous employers, and secure the border. The Administration was distracted by a focus on garden variety immigration law violators rather than unscrupulous employers and dangerous criminals.
The Obama Administration has a chance to redirect priorities toward the truly bad actors. Recently, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced a new initiative focusing federal resources on combating the violent drug cartels in Mexico and weapons smuggling from the United States. And Napolitano has also indicated that her Department will review the prior Administration’s controversial worksite raids program and ensure that future efforts focus on unscrupulous employers who break labor and immigration laws.
This report is a review of the previous Administration’s immigration enforcement priorities, and analysis of the opportunities facing the current Administration.