- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I write in response to Stephen Dinan’s article “Work site arrests of illegals fall dramatically” (Page 1, Thursday) to refute any suggestion that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has stopped enforcing the law. To the contrary, ICE has strengthened enforcement by targeting criminal aliens and employers who knowingly break the law.

The numbers speak for themselves. In fiscal 2009, ICE removed a record number of aliens - 387,000 - more than any other administration in the nation’s history. ICE also removed a record number of criminal aliens - 136,000. In just the first year of our new Secure Communities initiative, ICE identified more than 111,000 aliens charged or convicted of crimes, and more than 11,000 of them were charged with or convicted of Level 1 crimes like murder and rape. This is a smart way to use resources and protect our communities.

Since the end of April, when we implemented our new work-force enforcement strategy of targeting employers who knowingly hire unauthorized labor, ICE has done the following: debarred 45 businesses and 47 individuals, up from one during the same period in 2008; issued 142 fine notices totaling $15.8 million, up from 32 notices totaling $2.3 million in all of fiscal 2008; and initiated 1,897 cases, up from 605 during the same period in 2008. In fiscal 2009, ICE audited 1,444 companies - up from 503 in 2008 and zero in both 2005 and 2006.

Based on investigative leads and intelligence, ICE on Thursday served 1,000 companies with ties to our critical infrastructure and key resources in every state with notices that we will audit their hiring records to determine compliance with the law. With our new strategy, compliance is the only business model that makes sense.

JOHN MORTON

Assistant secretary

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Washington

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