One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

By Mark Krikorian on July 9, 2009

The administration has announced that it's abandoning an important immigration initative that would have identified large numbers of illegal immigrants in the workforce. To camouflage this capitulation, the same press release reiterates a promise to finally implement a different, much smaller initative.

William Riley, Former ICE Agent,
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Specifically, the Social Security No-Match Rule is being rescinded. This would have notified companies of employees whose numbers and names don't match, and laid out a series of steps to take that would offer a safe harbor to employers so they wouldn't be charged with knowingly employing illegal aliens. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the ACLU, and the AFL-CIO (the Axis of Open Borders) joined in a lawsuit against the rule, which has been blocked by court order. By rescinding the rule, the administration has conveniently removed the need to pursue appeals of the judge's descision.

At the same time, DHS has said it will, at long last, implement the rule requiring federal contractors to use E-Verify, the online system for checking new hires. This is a good thing, because they've delayed implementation of the rule three times now. But the idea that the two initiatives are equivalent is transparently false — the no-match rule would have identified large numbers of currently employed illegal-alien workers (most of whom work on the books with fake or stolen numbers), whereas the federal-contractor rule, while an important step in creating momentum, applied only to new hires, and wouldn't end up actually affecting that many people — Lockheed Martin and Raytheon just aren't likely to be employing a lot of illegal aliens on federal contracts.

Both Obama and Schumer have acknowledged that the administration needs real credibility on enforcement if it's ever going to get enough votes in Congress for amnesty, and implementing the federal-contractor rule could have moved them a little ways in that direction. But by using the federal-contractor rule as window dressing for gutting a much more important measure, the White House has actually sacrificed any credibility the rule might have given them. The administration staffers and leftist constituency groups pushing for amnesty are so maximalist and so intent on getting their way right now that the White House is unable to take the steps necessary to prepare the way politically for amnesty. In a sense, it's good news, because they're torpedoing their chances, but it's also an indication of how brazenly contemptuous of immigration law the policymakers in this White House really are.