Washington (CNN)The administration's top immigration enforcement official on Tuesday said his agency will vastly step up crackdowns on employers who hire undocumented immigrants -- a new front in President Donald Trump's hardline immigration agenda.
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tom Homan spoke at the conservative Heritage Foundation and was asked whether his agency would do more to target not just undocumented workers, but their places of work.
Homan said he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE, to potentially quintuple worksite enforcement actions next year.
He said he recently asked HSI to audit how much of their time is spent on work site enforcement, and said he has ordered that to increase "by four to five times."
"We've already increased the number of inspections in work site operations, you will see that significantly increase this next fiscal year," Homan promised, saying the goal is to remove the "magnet" drawing people to enter the US illegally.
And he said his agency would approach the task in a way that's "a little different" than in the past, by going just as aggressively after employees.
"Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we're going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers," Homan said.
"When we find you at a work site, we're no longer going to turn our heads," Homan elaborated after the event. "We'll go after the employer who knowingly hires an illegal alien ... but we're always going to arrest a person who is here illegally. That is our job."
[ICE Chief Pledges Quadrupling Or More Of Workplace Crackdowns, by Tal Kopan, CNN, October 17, 2017]
That sounds great, but there will be resistance from the management and agents at Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), or as this writer has described them, ICE SVU, which since its inception, has deliberately ignored immigration enforcement work, especially work-site enforcement. Currently, HSI has almost no work-site enforcement program. Work-site enforcement units in each HSI field office were long ago denuded of agents. The San Francisco Field Office has only one agent assigned to work-site enforcement, so even if work-site enforcement was increased 4-5 times, that is not much from such a low starting point. This was a point in my warning to then President-Elect Trump about foes, and friends, he would have in the immigration bureaucracy. HSI is one of his enemies.
But right on cue, a warning was sent to ICE officers about the dangers of doing their jobs. An illegal alien was released after officers raided his work-site. The press and politicians complained the illegal alien has his 4th Amendment rights violated because the ICE officers did not have an arrest warrant. However, no immigration officer, much less an ICE officer needs a warrant to arrest an illegal alien.
SALEM, Ore. (AP) - After walking through the door of a home in Oregon, federal immigration officers acknowledged they didn’t have a warrant. Still, they refused to heed requests to leave until they arrested a man who was inside and had been helping remodel the house.
The incident Thursday in a Portland suburb was caught on camera by the man’s co-worker and generated an outcry in the Latino community.
Oregon’s two U.S. senators denounced the agents’ actions. Rep. Diego Hernandez, a Democrat representing Portland in the Oregon House of Representatives, tweeted: “They had no warrant, ICE is out of line.”
The man, identified by the senators as Carlos Bolanos, was released after the video was posted on Facebook. ICE is reviewing its officers’ actions and has referred the incident to its Office of Professional Responsibility and to the inspector general of ICE’s parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe said in an email.
The video shows significant wrongdoing by the federal officers, said Mat Dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. It also reflects a disturbing trend by ICE in targeting people for deportation while agents are dressed in plainclothes and not identifying themselves, Dos Santos added.
[ICE Arrest Without Warrant Of Man Inside House Investigated, by Andrew Selsky, Washington Times, October 20, 2017]
Now, the Fourth Amendment protects certain rights, including those against search and seizure of one's property without a warrant or probable cause, but that does not apply to persons other than who's property it was. The Fourth Amendment in the above case would protect the homeowner or lawful resident (renter) from the entry without a warrant or exigent circumstances, but does not protect third parties, because only the owner or lawful resident. For instance, an entry is made into a residence and illegal drugs are seized. The evidence can be suppressed if the owner or resident is charged with a crime, but that evidence can still be used against other co-conspirators. Why, because the Fourth Amendment protects your rights as a property owner or resident. The illegal alien in question has no Fourth Amendment rights in a place where he was working. Only the owner or resident of that property has a liberty interest and the protection of the Fourth Amendment in that property. There may be a civil claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the officers by the owners of the house, though unlikely since there were no damages, but the illegal alien is out of luck, He cannot exercise any right under the Fourth Amendment.
However, ICE immediately folded under political pressure by Democrat politicians and the ACLU. That suggests Thomas Homan needs to have the back of his agents and officers in the field arresting illegal aliens. This bodes ill for future work-site enforcement if ICE is going to recognize a Fourth Amendment right by illegal aliens in their workplace, especially since the agents were allowed into the house in the first place. They are under no obligation to leave the house because the person who let them in had no authority to order them to leave since they had no authority over the house, being neither owners nor residents. Time for Homan to man up.