Rep. David Price: deport criminals, but leave the illegal workers alone (cut enforcement funds to support illegal immigration)
Rep. David Price - Democrat from Chapel Hill, North Carolina - chairs the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee and he's using his position to encourage the DHS to prioritize deporting illegal aliens who are in prisons and jails in the U.S., rather than simply releasing them into the community. Sounds good so far, except for his corresponding plan of basically neglecting worksite enforcement:
[His committee] voted to cut and remove funding [from the Homeland Security funding bill] for proven enforcement measures such as the 287(g) program, which enables local police and sheriffs to enforce immigration laws, and workplace enforcement activities. The measure will, among other things, require ICE to spend $800 million to identify and deport illegal aliens who have committed serious crimes. Since the bill provides ICE only $60 million over its $4.8 billion budget request, the money aimed at identifying and deporting serious criminals will have to be shifted from other priorities.
Price is simply trying to make sure that cheap labor employers - perhaps even those who've donated to his coffers - are able to continue to have access to a low-cost labor pool. From a speech he gave at the Center for American Progress Action Fund where he promoted "comprehensive immigration reform" [price.house.gov/apps/list/press/nc04_price/062308.shtml]:
I want to be clear on that point. The illegal presence of foreign nationals in the United States is a problem, and calls into question our commitment to the integrity of our immigration laws. But we need to put that problem into perspective on two counts: First, the integrity of our immigration laws is compromised primarily by the fact that those laws are grossly unrealistic in relation to our labor market demands. And second, there can be no credible argument that deporting illegal workers should take precedence over efforts to combat smuggling, prevent terrorism, and deport criminal aliens... while we have been using scarce resources to detain and deport laborers at meatpacking plants, we have allowed tens of thousands of dangerous criminal aliens to be released back into our communities after serving their sentences, with no awareness on our part of their immigration status... Our illegal immigration is more about demand than about supply, so as long as our immigration policies are not responsive to the realities of our labor market, illegal immigration will drain our resources and distract attention from the apprehension of criminal and terrorist aliens crossing our borders and living among us... The current Administration made some effort last year to promote comprehensive immigration reform, but it now seems to have turned 180 degrees toward an enforcement-only approach. This might be interpreted as an attempt to appeal to the most hard-line anti-immigrant segment of the population, but some have painted it as an effort to drive home the need for immigration reform by inflicting pain on businesses and communities who depend on these workers. If it really is some sort of perverse "tough medicine" policy, I find it doubly hard to understand, given the negative impacts on hardworking immigrants and their children, and because it has tradeoffs with other activities that could be helping to make our country safer...
Price is hiding behind rightful concern about criminals being released in order to support illegal immigration by supposed non-criminals. It's possible to balance spending on deporting criminals with workplace enforcement, and with more workplace enforcement there would be fewer potential illegal alien criminals.
As for our "labor market demands", if there were no crooked politicians and our laws were enforced, our industries would adapt either by automating, producing alternatives, moving low-wage work offshore, or simply going out of business. There's a reason why we don't have a buggywhip industry nowadays.