Hard to say—while incompetence is always the first choice, especially with the Bush administration, we should never attribute to incompetence what is actually caused by deliberate action. Bush had a plan to make all these illegals legal—it's called amnesty, and it failed. That's his excuse, if any, for the miserable lack of enforcement since the year 2000.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff predicted painful economic fallout from the array of immigration enforcement measures the administration unveiled Friday in an attempt to choke off the jobs "magnet" that draws illegal immigrants.
The changes, which would stiffen work-site enforcement, add border agents and increase penalties for rogue employers, could cause havoc in immigrant-dependent industries like agriculture, hospitality and healthcare, Chertoff acknowledged. "There will be some unhappy consequences for the economy out of doing this," he said in an interview with The Times.
Chertoff said he had little sympathy for businesses that hire illegal workers, saying they should have seen the crackdown coming after the Senate failed to pass immigration reform. "We have been crystal clear about what the consequences would be," he said.[Immigration rules may hurt economy |Crackdown on employers could cause havoc in agriculture, healthcare and other industries, Chertoff acknowledges. By Nicole Gaouette, Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2007]
Personally, I have no sympathy for people whose business model requires illegal immigration to function, and if Chertoff is hoping that doing the enforcement he was neglecting for years, (because he thought the Congressional fix was in) will cause a backlash, I think he's wrong. Kaus points out that Rasmussen show 79 percent support for enforcement.
Read the whole thing, there's more, including a plan to enforce the law without causing dislocation.