Republicans are pressing President Obama to resume the large-scale workplace immigration raids that were a hallmark of the George W. Bush administration. Though deportations have soared under Obama, his administration has focused its crackdown efforts on employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants; arrests from worksite raids for immigration-related offenses have dropped by 70%, the LA Times reports.
With unemployment at more than 9%, “it is hard to imagine a worse time to cut worksite enforcement efforts by more than half,” says a Texas rep. “Citizens and legal immigrants should not be forced to compete with illegal workers.” Republicans also say they’ll steadfastly block any path to legal status for illegal immigrants. Obama has eschewed raids in order to reserve resources for pursuing hardened criminals, officials said. Bush’s raids were expensive, costing taxpayers more than $10 million in 2007 and 2008.