Obama Escalates Raids for Illegal Immigrants
US Chamber of Commerce is displeased
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2011 7:45 AM CDT
President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about immigration reform, Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in El Paso, Texas.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

(Newser) – The Obama administration has notified 1,000 businesses in all 50 states that it’ll be scouring their hiring records for signs of illegal immigrant employees, in a surge of so-called “silent raids,” the Wall Street Journal reports. ICE wouldn’t identify the targets, but did say that businesses of all sizes were included, and that they all traded in “critical infrastructure and key resources,” such as food production, IT, financial services, and construction.

The US Chamber of Commerce, which has until now kept quiet about the silent raids, criticized the move. “We are concerned the audits are being based more on a fishing expedition than firm facts,” a senior vice president said. “These audits can cost millions of dollars in lost productivity and attorneys' fees.” The raids can be devastating for businesses that rely on illegal immigrant labor; American Apparel nearly declared bankruptcy after a 2009 audit forced it to lay off 1,500 workers.