The Obama administration is cracking down on illegal immigration using a new approach: pursuing employers rather than the immigrants themselves, the Wall Street Journal reports. Immigration officials announced yesterday they’d begun auditing 652 companies; hiring breaches could mean fines or civil and criminal charges. The new method runs counter to the Bush administration approach, which featured immigration raids and the detainment of hundreds of workers.
Obama is focusing on enforcement to fend off critics who say he wants to grant citizenship to foreign workers amid high unemployment in the US, say insiders. Though the new plan isn’t aimed at quick deportations, “the net effect for workers is nearly the same: They lose their economic lifeline,” says an agriculture advocate.