Saturday, August 11, 2007

Some worried about White House crackdown on illegal workers

By Michelle Gallardo
August 10, 2007 - The White House and the Department of Homeland Security are imposing new laws to crackdown on illegal immigration. Questions about a worker's social security status have not been resolved within 90 days. If not, employers will he held liable if they don't fire those workers. fines for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants will be raised. and there are now fewer documents employers can accept to verify a worker's status.

What we heard from people Friday was mostly a concern that this crackdown could adversely affect many businesses, large and small. While those who support the measures say these things have been proposed in the past and never enforced.

"Because the magnet that brings most economic migrants into this country is work. We have worksite enforcement directed al illegal employment we strike at that magnet," said Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security secretary.

Cracking down on businesses that employ undocumented workers is the main provision in the new immigration related initiatives. Many observers say it is appeasing congressional republicans who've blocked passage of an immigration reform bill until current laws are enforced.

Dr. Sean Gavin co-owns several chiropractic clinics across the Chicago area. He says when he asks for a prospective employee's social security card there is no way for him to tell it is fake. "We're a small business. I have like a hundred employees. What happens if I have to let go of 50 of them or even 10? People who are valuable, people who are key people?" said Gavin. imigration activist Emma Lozano says the provisions contradict the Bush administration's desire to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

"You cannot do enforcement only. You have to do that in conjunction with legislation so people will come out of the shadows and give their information. And maybe then you would find a terrorist, but all they're doing now is separating families," said Emma Lozano, Pueblo Sin Fronteras.

Those who support a crackdown on illegal immigration aren't happy either. "As far as we're concerned it's all talk. I think of past practices. Nothing has been enforced until now," said Rosanna Pulido, Illinois Minuteman Project.

Other measures announced Friday include speeding up the building of fences along the US-Mexico border, and trying to match up records of non-citizens entering and leaving the country.

Chinese immigrant and new citizen Beilin Ye talked about what she calls the anti-immigrant sentiment just minutes after taking the oath.

"I think a lot of people forget that immigrants are what made this country. Part of the packet they gave us had a little booklet that introduced all the famous immigrants and there is Alexander Hamilton, one of our founding fathers who wasn't born here," Ye said.

Secretary Michael Chertoff also said Friday that these measures are not meant to take the place of a comprehensive immigration reform bill but a way to enforce existing laws that are already on the books.

ABC7 News Team
Michelle Gallardo, Weekend General Assignment Reporter, ABC 7 News
Michelle's BIO

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