Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bush administration switches role, defends immigration enforcement

The Bush administration, which in June was seeking amnesty for illegal aliens, is now defending immigration enforcement. It is suing the state of Illinois for banning use of a federal system that checks whether workers are in the United States legally.

The Department of Homeland Security sought the suit, which would preempt an Illinois state law that bars businesses from using the employee verification program. It also sends a clear message to other states and cities about the way they handle immigration enforcement.

Census reports in recent years have demonstrated that some older cities, especially in the Northeast and the “Rust Belt,” have maintained their leadership in population only by catering to legal immigrants and illegal aliens. Some have declared themselves “sanctuary” cities, where illegals are welcome.

Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Secutiy, made it clear that his agency will not countenance interference from states, and he blamed interest groups for trying to impede his department with lawsuits. He told a House committee this month that he would take action against any city that hampered his ability to enforce the law.

The step is ‘an indication that the federal government is finally stepping up to the plate and accepting its responsibilities in the field of immigration,' said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

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