Are immigration audits of unauthorized immigrants without criminal backgrounds necessary?

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An immigration audit of a child care operator in the Twin Cities has sparked a local debate on the nation’s immigration policies, writes MPR News reporter Sasha Aslanian.

Jardin Magico, a Spanish immersion daycare and pre-school that operates two locations in Minneapolis and one in Edina, lost a number of employees after Immigration and Customs Enforcement identified 60 out of 160 workers whose employment eligibility in the United States is in question.

Last week, the school informed parents by letter that, after an immigration audit, an unspecified number of employees left the school rather than contest the accuracy of their paperwork. The daycare is staying open and has brought in replacement staff it had hired in anticipation of an expansion that is now on hold.

John Keller, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, met with workers Tuesday night to discuss their options.

“The majority of people who are caught up in [an immigration audit] are productive workers with no criminal backgrounds — many who have been here for years and years and are exactly the people our economy needs, but will only fully flourish after Congress and the president sign comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.

The immigration bill recently passed by the Senate would provide an opportunity for the nation’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants to live and work in the United States if they meet certain conditions. It would also beef up border security and employment verification. But the fate of the immigration overhaul faces a tougher road in the House, where many Republicans want to focus on stricter border enforcement.

Today’s Question: Are immigration audits of unauthorized immigrants without criminal backgrounds necessary?

  • JQP

    Yes … but …. the impact of the audit should be lowered substantially so more will willingly participate. Taking that approach provides stability to the immigrant-worker community (and their employers), improves general data on that population, and provides better workforce data. Employers should be encouraged to be better partners in this tracking system – by lowering penalties and impacts on them. Make everyone a willing partner. the current system with its erratically harsh penalties creates the hidden employee market with its bizarre and cruel human treatment.

    Concerns about jobs being stolen or individuals “jumping ahead of others” in the immigration line should be dealt with in other ways. Once you have the human documentation – you have the ability to work through a known issue instead of turning every worst case offender ( immigrant or employer) into the perceptual “norm”.
    Get a grip by getting data.

  • david

    Yes, but I wouldn’t waste time and resources chasing down employees of companies. The biggest harm these employees do is claim 20 dependents on their W4 and then never file a tax return. That part should be fixed, but it’s not as bad as the tax dodging illegal immigrants that hire them.

    If we are going to deport anyone, I say start with these corporations that incorporate over seas to get out of paying for the infrastructure they use to make their billions here. Since the supreme court seems to think these corporations are people, and they are legally residents of Ireland, the Camden Islands or elsewhere, then they are here illegally. I doubt a visa has ever been issued to any if these companies, much less a work permit.

    And no tax free repatriation holiday for these criminals should they decide they would rather stay in the country that made them rich. All that does is create giant tax free dividend day for the criminals that run the company. We need to stop rewarding evil.

  • James

    11 (or is it 14) million illegal immigrants is either a problem or it isn’t. If it is a problem, (which I think it is) then unannounced random audits of every company in the state and country is something we should be doing. (Followed by heavy fines for the offending companies and deportation of the illegal workers.) And, profiling the companies should be acceptable. Meaning, the more suspicious ones should be at the top of the list for audits.
    The “illegal immigration debate” drives me nuts. Boiled down to its essence:
    – The right wants and needs illegal immigrants to staff its businesses with low cost labor but pretends it wants tall fences and 0 tolerance.
    – Both the right and the left get queezy when we enforce the laws that are on the books. The right, because of the loss of employees. The left because of human rights and fairness issues.
    – So on and on goes the “fake” debate.
    A little honest on this issue would really help!

  • Jim G

    Yes… the current… very broken immigration law should be followed and enforced until a new immigration law is passed. That seems unlikely given that the House is being burned down by conservative extremists and the Senate is frozen into partisan paralysis by Republican obstructionists lead by the Iceman Mitch McConnell.

  • PaulJ

    I don’t understand the question. If they are unauthorized what’s the audit for?

  • Pearly

    Unauthorized? Is that the same as illegal?