I can’t help but think the Obama Administration is doing its best to set the groundwork for enactment of comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for the 15 million undocumented in the U.S., by ironically, instituting an unprecedented number of deportation cases and criminal prosecutions against employers and visa fraud perpetrators. I observed the same type of Executive Branch activity during the Bush II administration, where an administration attempts to give the population at large the impression that our immigration laws really do have teeth and that the U.S. government really means business when it comes to enforcing our laws and preserving the integrity of our visa regulations.
Of course there are so many factors, political and otherwise, that will determine whether a legalization plan will gain any traction, even if President Obama is reelected. Here are just a few examples of immigration enforcement related criminal prosecutions carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as U.S. Department of Justice – all Executive Branch agencies – and all in the past month:
Manager of 2 staffing companies in Chicago area sentenced to 18 months in prison for hiring undocumented workers: The individual sentenced was the president of 2 companies for “knowingly hiring” 10 undocumented workers and assigning them to work in various warehouses in the Chicago area to perform janitorial services, freight loading and assorted construction duties. He paid the workers in cash and failed to withhold payroll taxes, among other violations.
Owner of Thai and Japanese restaurants in Boulder, Colorado and Louisville, Kentucky was sentenced to 1 year in prison for exploiting and harboring undocumented workers and tax evasion: This Thai national was working in the U.S. pursuant to an
E-2 investment visa and among his many criminal acts, he forced his undocumented Thai employees to enter into unconscionable employment agreements and pay exorbitant fees to facilitate fraudulent immigration applications. He also failed to withhold and pay payroll taxes. This individual also faces deportation from the U.S. following his release from prison since he is not a U.S. citizen.
New Jersey man sentenced to more than 2 years in prison for filing dozens of fraudulent visa applications on behalf of undocumented workers: This individual bilked foreign nationals paying anywhere from $5,000.00 to $30,000.00 to facilitate
the preparation and filing of fraudulent immigration paperwork, including applications premised on fictitious employment as religious workers or IT professionals, or fraudulent evidence to support an “amnesty filing” confirming their continuous physical presence in the U.S. prior to 1982.
Mexican national was sentenced to almost 5 years in prison for illegally reentering the U.S. after previously being deported: This individual was apprehended in Texas and had been previously deported back in 1994 after serving 4 years for a felony drug conviction.
For more information regarding the scope and nature of recent ICE enforcement activities, visit: http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/
PUBLISHED February 22, 2011 – “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM”
Copyright © 2011, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois