Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has ordered a review of a raid earlier this week at a Bellingham, Wash., manufacturing plant that ended with the arrests of 28 illegal immigrants.
Napolitano told lawmakers during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that she did not know about the raid before it happened and was briefed on it early Wednesday morning. She has asked U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducted the raid, for answers.
“I want to get to the bottom of this as well,” she said. She said work-site enforcement needs to be focused on the employers.
So, now it’s wrong for ICE to arrest illegal immigrants?
Make no mistake: comments like that ensure that raids like that aren’t going to happen again. If a top federal official says she’s conducting a review of a raid because illegals were arrested instead of employers, lower-level bureaucrats will get the message loud and clear.
Look. I’ve repeatedly argued on this site that the federal government should prioritize deportation of illegal aliens who commit crimes after they enter the country. Had Napolitano said she wanted to see fewer workplace raids in order to divert resources to deport criminals, I’d be all for it.
But she didn’t say that. Instead, she made it sound like it’s wrong to arrest illegals. And it isn’t. They’re violating the law.
If you’re going to do workplace enforcement and you can prove the employer knowingly employed illegals, I have no problem with arresting the employers (as long as we deport the criminals first). But proving such violations can be a very tall order because illegals (including the ones described in the story) often use fake documentation.
If ICE agents can’t amass enough evidence to charge the employers, why on God’s Green Earth would it be wrong for them to arrest the illegals they find? And why would the head of Homeland Security be sending a message to ICE agents that arresting illegals is wrong??
Thanks to Michelle Malkin.
UPDATE: Slightly rewrote a sentence in the next-to-last paragraph for clarity (“that” replaced with “arresting the employers” and link added).