Phoenix Immigration reform advocates have increasingly lodged the criticism that the Obama Administration, the state of Arizona, and many other jurisdictions is criminalizing immigrants. Part of this lies in the simple Arpaio aberration of taking a civil infraction, which is how an immigration violation exists in law, and making it a criminal issue, largely in the court of public opinion.
As part of the Administration policy, criminalizing the employers has become more aggressive and effective in their weapons against immigrants. From today’s Times:
“Under a policy that went into effect in April 2009, the Obama administration is taking a much tougher stance on employers who hire illegal immigrants than any administration in decades. Enforcement agents have subjected businesses across the country to much greater scrutiny, using tactics that were almost nonexistent until two years ago. Federal officials said they expected to announce record numbers of investigations and fines by the end of the year. As of July 31, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, had announced investigations of 2,073 businesses so far this year, outpacing the 1,461 conducted in all of 2009.”