Immigration Subcommittee's Quiet Start
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As far as I can tell thus far, only the home-town paper of Rep. Elton Gallegly (pictured) reported directly about his first hearing as Chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee. However, scheduling the panel for the day following the President's State of the Union speech may have consigned the hearing to minimal news coverage, given how the annual ritual of the SOTU arouses very intense pundit behavior in the media that lasts for days.

More attention paid to the hearing would have been welcome, since it included focus on how immigration policy normally ignores how it worsens unemployment among citizens.

It's a shame the committees don't go digital and record all their hearings for Youtube. It wouldn't be that hard to do and would be a valuable resource for politics and policy. We certainly can't depend on the MSM for accurate immigration information.

Gallegly says administration not tough enough on undocumented workers, Ventura County Star, January 26, 2011

WASHINGTON - With the light tap of a gavel, Rep. Elton Gallegly began his reign as chairman of a congressional immigration panel on Wednesday and immediately attacked the Obama administration's efforts at cracking down on undocumented immigrants in the workplace.

Gallegly and other Republicans on the panel charged that, under President Barack Obama, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has relaxed the get-tough approach it had taken under former President George W. Bush in dealing with illegal workers.

The result, GOP lawmakers said, is illegal immigrants are taking jobs from American workers.

"The Obama administration's strategy clearly does a grave disservice to American workers," said Gallegly, the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.

Worksite enforcement must ensure "those jobs that are available go to Americans and legal immigrants," he said.

Gallegly, a Simi Valley Republican, has made the fight against illegal immigration the signature issue of his two-decade-long congressional career. But he has promised "fair and responsible oversight" of immigration policy as the new subcommittee chairman.

Wednesday's hearing, the first under Gallegly's leadership, focused on whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement is doing enough to keep illegal immigrants out of the workplace. The title of the hearing: "ICE Worksite Enforcement: Up to the Job?"

The answer, at least for Republicans on the panel, appeared to be "no."

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas and the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, charged that worksite enforcement has plummeted under the Obama administration, with administrative arrests of undocumented workers falling by 77 percent and criminal arrests falling by 60 percent over the past two years.

Criminal indictments have fallen 57 percent and criminal convictions have dropped 66 percent during the same period, Smith said.

Inquiring minds can find the testimony of panelists on the individual hearing page. They were ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble, Mark Krikorian, Mike Cutler and Daniel Griswold.

I thought Mark Krikorian's testimony was particularly informative and important, considering the unemployment crisis.

The unemployment rate last month was 9.4 percent, meaning that 14.5 million Americans were looking for work. The U6 unemployment rate, which includes underemployed and discouraged workers, stood at a whopping 16.7 percent (representing nearly 26 million Americans), with even higher rates for young workers and minorities.

And yet immigration policymaking takes no note of these facts. Over the past decade, 13.1 million immigrants (legal and illegal) arrived in the United States, but there was a net decline of one million jobs over the same period. The disconnect between immigration and employment was even more stark over the past two years; according to a report last week from Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies, U.S. household employment declined by 6.26 million, but 1.1 million new immigrants nonetheless got jobs.

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