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?