NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

INS Reduces Raids On Immigrants

March 9, 2000

The Immigration and Naturalization Service -- which in recent years has made crossing the border into the U.S. harder than ever -- has adopted a policy of looking the other way once illegal immigrants have settled down in the country. Observers report that raids on workplaces to arrest and deport illegals have all but stopped.

  • Arrests for the purpose of deportation dropped to about 8,600 last year from 22,000 two years earlier.
  • The agency now concentrates on picking up aliens who have committed a crime -- while the rest are allowed to help American employers fill jobs.
  • Illegals may be a factor in holding down wages and wage-related inflation, since 25 percent of U.S. jobs pay $8 or less per hour -- jobs which many illegals fill, thus dampening competitive pressures which might push wages higher.
  • An estimated six million illegals now live in the U.S. -- but that number could grow once the new policy becomes understood.

The labor union Unite, which has been drumming up membership among Chicago laundry workers, has been negotiating contracts which recognize the illegal status of some workers and seek to shield them. One clause requires an employer to bar an INS raid unless the agents have a search warrant. And a company must notify the union if it gets wind of an upcoming raid.

Source: Louis Uchitelle, "INS Is Looking the Other Way as Illegal Immigrants Fill Jobs," New York Times, March 9, 2000.


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