One of those underlings: Robert Hammer, assistant special in charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Commercial Appeal uses him as a source in a story reporting “federal agents are increasing the focus on employment in Tennessee” based on orders from Homan, with a special focus on “work site enforcement”. [More Immigration Actions Planned In 2018 At Job Sites Across Tennessee, High-Ranking Enforcement Official Says, by Daniel Connolly, December 27, 2017]
This sounds good, but reporter Connolly’s article also contains some worrying signs this might simply be boob bait, an attempt to fool Trump supports into thinking something productive is being done.
Hammer says investigations will focus on “critical infrastructure” that “have an impact on the general safety and welfare of the community.” Hammer claims there is “limited staffing” preventing broader actions.
But “limited staffing” has always been the excuse from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and immigration enforcement has more money and staff than ever. The bigger problem: Homeland Security Investigations doesn’t particularly want to do immigration enforcement. Indeed, Hammer references the tip line for ICE (866-DHS-2-ICE or 866-347-2423), but work-site enforcement is at the bottom (literally) of the list of issues ICE says there it wants to hear from the public about.
And as this correspondent can assure you from experience, a tip about illegal aliens being employed or causing trouble in a neighborhood will not even be investigated. HSI prefers non-controversial cases about art theft or child porn, even though such crimes are already handled by the FBI. (Hence, my derogatory nickname of HIS: ICE SVU).
Sill, Hammer’s limited ambitions seem to be conflict with Homan’s attitude. Homan even specifically targeted the entire state of California when discussing large scale immigration actions:
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said California "better hold on tight" after its liberal Democratic governor allowed a sanctuary state law to take effect this week…Of course, Homan has made similar claims in the past, but no real action followed. Yet such action is necessary if the Trump Administration is to deliver for working class Americans. After all, worksite enforcement actions not only effectively combat illegal immigration, but go a long way towards increasing employment and wages for ordinary Americans.
"I think it's terrible," Homan said, adding that Brown's action put politics in front of public safety…
Homan said that Brown and other sanctuary-jurisdiction leaders may have violated 8 U.S. Code § 1324 - relating to "harboring certain aliens."
'CA Better Hold On Tight': ICE Dir Promises Doubling of Officers After 'Sanctuary' Law Signed, Fox News, January 2, 2018. Emphasis added
For example, consider this news from Chicago:
A huge Chicago bakery is now hiring Americans at higher wages, following a federal immigration enforcement action which forced the firing of 800 illegal immigrants.Results like this show Americans would truly benefit from worksite raids and immigration enforcement. Instead of just focusing on “critical infrastructure,” HSI should coordinate with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify employers with the largest number of illegal workers. These can be identified by the use of fraudulent Social Security Numbers (SSN) and the illegal use of Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) to pay taxes.
The forced departure of the illegal-immigrant workers at the Chicago-based Cloverhill bakery was a financial shock to the Swiss company which bought the bakery from a U.S. investment group in 2014. The illegals comprised one-third of the bakery’s employees, so U.S. sales fell by seven percent when the enforcement forced the company to rebuild its workforce by hiring Americans, the CEO told Wall Street analysts, according to Bloomberg:
“It’s proceeding very, very slowly because it’s like having a brand new factory and a brand new workforce,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Toland said on a call with analysts. “That’s presenting a lot of challenges, as you can imagine” …
[Trump’s Immigration Enforcement Wins Higher Wages for Chicago Employees, by Neil Munro, Breitbart, November 27, 2017]
And Target Number One should be California, precisely because the rogue state recently implemented new legislation to interfere with federal worksite enforcement:
With clear indications from the Trump administration that worksite immigration enforcement is near the top of the agenda for 2018, the state of California has taken a pre-emptive step to protect workers who may be affected. On Jan. 1, 2018, Assembly Bill No. 450 (AB 450) will take effect and impose new rules governing how public and private employers in California interact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other immigration enforcement agents.For all intents and purposes, California has seceded from the Union when it comes to immigration policy. Indeed, it’s making its own immigration policy—something forbidden by the recent Supreme Court case Arizona v. United States.
California lawmakers cited the Trump administration’s call to hire 10,000 more ICE agents and its intent to make undocumented immigrants an enforcement priority as reasons for enacting AB 450. AB 450 became even more relevant in October when acting ICE director Thomas Homan said ICE would increase worksite enforcement actions by four to five times in 2018, targeting unauthorized workers and the employers who hire them.
While all U.S. employers would be wise to take preventive measures in the face of these announcements, California employers must deal with new legal obligations courtesy of AB 450. The new law has three main components. First, AB 450 prohibits employers from voluntarily consenting to warrantless requests by immigration authorities to search workplaces and employee records. Second, it creates notice requirements related to immigration inspections. Third, it prevents employers from reverifying the employment eligibility of current employees. Employers who violate AB 450 will face penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.
California Imposes New Rules on Employers in Worksite Enforcement Actions, by Matthew W. Hoyt, James D. Levine, Pamela D. Nieto and Alan C. deVries, Employment Law Spotlight, December 22, 2017
ICE’s Homan needs to let California know this unconstitutional act will not be tolerated. The best way to bring the lesson home to California: make California an example. Homan should immediately deploy large numbers of Deportation Officers and Special Agents, supported by Border Patrol Agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP to California to begin a series of work-site raids from San Diego in the south, to Yreka in the north, with special emphasis on Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Jose, the most obstreperous sanctuary cities. Homan should also order that administrative subpoenas be issued for driver’s license records for illegal aliens issued under California’s AB 60.
Homan should order an expansion of Area Control efforts by ICE, with raids, check-points, and sweeps directed at areas with high illegal alien populations, and CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, should order that the U.S. Border Patrol begin aggressive City Patrol efforts in cities like El Centro, San Diego, National City, San Bernardino County and Riverside County.
Further on, the Border Patrol should deploy to major urban areas to begin City Patrol of sanctuary cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
And there should also be criminal investigations of those in the government of California who are aiding illegal aliens in violation of Title 8 United States Code, Section 1324, Harboring Illegal Alien, including Governor Jerry Brown and Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California.
Worksite enforcement works. It benefits Americans. But it needs to be done in a systematic manner, with no employer free from fear of a raid and no politician spared if they commit illegal and unconstitutional actions.
It’s time for Thomas Homan to make ICE do its job. It’s time to go big or go home.
The blogger Federale (Email him) is a 4th generation Californian and a veteran of federal law enforcement, including service in the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal law enforcement agencies.
Federale's opinions do not represent those of the Department of Homeland Security or the federal government, and are an exercise of rights protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.