One of the three main components of Comprehensive Immigration Reform is enforcement, both in the workplace and at our borders. As record numbers of deportations and actions against employers show, the Obama Administration has worked harder on enforcement than any administration in recent history.
According to ICE, as of July 2012, the Obama Administration has deported approximately 1.4 million people. At the current rate, the Obama Administration will far exceed the Bush Administration’s eight year total of two million deportations.
At our borders, the CBP reported more than 340,000 individuals apprehended in FY 2011. The number of apprehensions has steadily and significantly declined in recent years. Increased border security and the declining economy have been cited as possible factors in the decline of undocumented individuals attempting to enter the US at our borders.
The Obama Administration has also increasingly targeted employers who violate Federal immigration laws by imposing harsh penalties and charges against those found guilty of hiring undocumented workers. Fast food giant Chipotle is just one of the many companies whose hiring practices have recently been investigated.
While a great deal of progress has been made in enforcement over the past four years, one important reform has yet to be made: the elimination of the ability of states like Arizona and Alabama to intrude on the enforcement of Federal immigration laws. In recent years, due to congressional inaction on immigration reform, a number of states have passed draconian laws that at best violated the Constitution and at worst demonstrated legislators’ fear and loathing of foreign-born individuals. This reform, coupled with the actions the administration has taken over the past four years, will create just one piece of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform puzzle.