illegal immigration

Flushing out illegal immigrants -- quietly

We reported in July that Immigration and Customs Enforcement under Obama had initiated an audit of employers with illegal immigrant employees in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Antonio and New York.

Now, a major janitorial services firm owned by local conservative talk radio host Peter Weissbach has fired about 100 janitors suspected of being illegal.  The Seattle Times reports that Seattle Building Maintenance will continue to let go workers in waves so managers can hire replacements.

At first, the Obama Administration's approach was heralded by immigrant advocates as more humane, since it keeps enough of a buffer between immigration agents and illegal immigrants so the former don't deport the latter wholesale.

Conservative Law Professor Kris Kobach has also focused on making it more difficult for employers to hire and employ illegals.  The federal strategy also  includes roping in local law enforcement to identify illegal immigrants with criminal histories in preparation for deportation.

The government's more targeted, two-pronged approach is aimed at chipping away at the illegal immigration population by reducing the supply of jobs that draws people to this country illegally and speeding up deportation proceedings by focusing them on criminals.

U.S. treatment of illegal immigrant once they have been detained has been criticized as inhumane due to the dirty, overcrowded private contractor facilities for housing those detainees.

Treating the uninsured and illegal

Paul Harasim of The Las Vegas Review-Journal spotlighted how a beleaguered University Medical Center is providing more than $20 million in repeated dialysis to a group of illegal immigrants.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak responded by saying foreign nationals should be sent home -- but with their consent, unlike the practices of some Floridian and Texan hospitals.

The hospital is projecting a $70 million budget gap, compared with the $24 million annual cost of treating these patients, which is not reimbursed. 

Mexican officials say they want to bring their people home to take care of them -- but their health may far much worse once they cross the border.

It is a classic immigration conundrum:

Is U.S. citizenship the only thing that would confer legitimacy to these people's health treatments at Las Vegas' only publicly supported hospital? 

What about a decade of hard work in the surrounding area?  Does that mean the kidneys of these 80 illegal immigrants should not be allowed to fail? 

Does the U.S. have an obligation to care for all the people who power its economy? 

Can doctors fulfill their Hippocratic Oath while denying care based on whether their hospital will be reimbursed?  Who should they save first?

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Border patrol cutbacks challenge National Guard

The dwindling presence of National Guard troops along the U.S., Mexico border is making it more difficult to monitor crime and drug smuggling, according to television report on KOAT in New Mexico. The Guard's budget has been cut every year for the past decade, slashing staff from 250 to less than 50. This report shows some of the issues border agents deal with, including the ever more clever tricks drug smugglers have devised to hide their goods, and what dehydration and sunburn can do to families trying to cross the border at remote locations.

Kobach vs Illegal Immigration

Conservative law professor Kris Kobach has his fingers in cases against illegal immigration across the country, winning rulings that will incrementally make it harder for businesses to employ undocumented workers in Arizona and for undocumented students to pay in-state tuition in California.

Julia Preston of The New York Times chronicles how Kobach is taking center stage in the local governments' fight to enforce immigration restrictions that were once the sole purview of the federal government.

California initiative targets "invasion by birth canal"

Our depressed economy presents an excellent opportunity to rally anxious Americans into supporting measures that make the lives of illegal immigrants and their families harder.

So believes a group of initiative pushers in California who want to end public benefits for illegal immigrants and cut off welfare for their children. They also want to make the process of applying for a child's birth certificate conducive to providing documentation for the deportation of illegal resident parents.

They hope to build on similar benefits curtailments in Oklahoma, Colorado Virginia, Arizona and Georgia, according to Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times.

Illegal residents: burden or buoy?

California's nearly 3 million illegal residents add between $4 billion and $6 billion in incarceration, education and medical costs, according to state estimates. 

But they also pay local sales taxes -- and often have Social Security and federal income taxes withheld from their paychecks.   Across the U.S., illegal residents pumped $12 billion into the Social Security system in 2007, according to that agency's estimates.

That money goes to federal rather than local governments, whose short-term costs related to illegal immigrants may be larger than the revenues, according to most experts.

So what to do during a budget crisis? Bar hospital doors to illegal residents? Kick them out of schools?  Toughen up the border?  Maintain the status quo?

Anti-illegal immigration activists are campaigning for an initiative to cut off welfare payments to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, even though those children are eligible because they are U.S. citizens.  Doing so would save $640 million per year, according to the state.

To find out the options being considered in California, read the report by Anna Gorman and Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times.

ICE investigation: targeting employers bigtime

The LATimes reports that federal officials are ramping up their fight against illegal immigrants by targeting the companies that hire undocumented migrants as workers. 
On July 1, Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified 652 businesses in San Antonio, Seattle, San Diego, New York and the Los Angeles area that their records will be audited. 

That single day's notices outnumbered all ICE notices in fiscal 2008.