The Obama administration issued a new enforcement policy last week focusing on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates stronger enforcement, says the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidelines do not “offer anything new in the way of substance with respect to enforcement against employers.”
Instead, FAIR says it raises questions whether illegal immigrants caught at worksites will be released. FAIR keys in on one line in the DHS memo:
ICE will continue to arrest and process for removal any illegal workers who are found in the course of these worksite enforcement actions in a manner consistent with immigration law and DHS priorities.FAIR contends that “processing for removal” could mean releasing illegal immigrants and giving them a notice to appear in court on a certain day to begin removal proceedings.
"Such a practice would be tantamount to reinstating the catch and release policy - a Border Patrol policy that was widely criticized as ineffective and counterproductive," FAIR states.
The catch and release program was ended in 2006. The practice allowed some illegal immigrants to remain free while awaiting their court hearing. Many never showed up in court.