The immigration debate

MPR’s Sasha Aslanian breaks an important story today with details of an immigration “raid” in which 1,200 janitors lost their jobs, in what is being held up as the stark difference between how the Obama administration handles illegal immigration compared to the Bush administration, which raided businesses and arrested illegal workers.

The most important rumor to dispel was that the workers were arrested. Unlike raids at the Swift meatpacking plant in Worthington in 2006, and the Postville, Iowa raid in 2008, the ABM janitors would not be rounded up or arrested.

The union worked with the company and ICE to give employees more time to show proper documents. They had until October. Then, each Monday, another batch of workers who failed to show correct papers was fired.

Under the theory, if businesses are more vigilant about not hiring undocumented workers, illegal immigration will be less of a problem since they won’t have the prospect of jobs.

But a retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement official disagrees, according to the story:

“Why give people an opportunity to leave the employment without taking any action against them as individuals?” said (Mark) Cangemi. “Put them into proceedings. Let them argue their case. If they have a case that allows them to remain in the United States under the law, so be it. If they don’t, then the law stands to be enforced.”

Your turn:

Which is the more effective deterrent to illegal immigration?(trends)