Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Hispanic Lawmakers Are Hopeful Following Meeting with Homeland Secretary

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) emerged from a meeting yesterday with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano hopeful that their concerns about immigration enforcement were being addressed.  Specifically, the group discussed ways to to end workplace raids by federal authorities.
According to a report in The Hill, Secretary Napolitano preempted the lawmakers’ questions about a raid of an engine shop in Bellingham, Washington that occurred earlier this week. She expressed “grave concerns” about the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in which 25 men and three women were detained for suspicion of being undocumented. All but three, who were released for humanitarian reasons, were detained for immediate deportation proceedings.

The Secretary informed the CHC members that the raid is now under evaluation by the House Homeland Security Committee. She reiterated the administration’s commitment to focus on the employer side rather than the employee side of workplace enforcement.  This met with approval as CHC Immigration Task Force Chairman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) who stated, “The meeting was very, very constructive. We’re happy.”

The CHC and its allies are dedicating themselves now to pushing for a scaling-back of the tough immigration enforcement provisions that were enacted under President Bush’s administration, arguing that raids do little more than break up families and communities while doing little to punish the employers who hire undocumented workers

Meanwhile, Republicans were quick to criticize Napolitano’s decision to investigate the raids.

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Republican Lamar Smith (Texas), one of the strongest defenders of the Bush policy, said in a statement, “ICE agents arrest a criminal illegal immigrant gang member, discover he had worked illegally with other illegal immigrants at a manufacturing plant, begin an investigation of the employer and arrest the illegal immigrants to get more facts … and the secretary orders an investigation of ICE?”

The Hispanic vote was instrumental in Barack Obama’s victory last November delivering key swing states such as Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.  The harsh rhetoric from some in the Republican party against immigrants was cited as one of the reasons the party lost any inroads into the Hispanic community previously made by George W. Bush.  Many Latinos will be watching carefully to see how the Obama Administration proceeds with its promise to tackle the politically and logistically difficult issue of immigration reform.

The Hill


  1. Finally we have someone who is willing to step up to the plate and examine the actions of law enforcement officials who can often be abusive.

  2. E-VERIFY should be used for all gov.programs foodstamps- sect.8 medical etc. go to (numbersusa.com)(americanpatrol.com) and follow links to other GREAT sites ENFORCE THE LAW !!! DEPORT THEM ALL !!!
    AND DEMAND E- VERIFY and 287g


  1. La Plaza says:

    […] Also as discussed in a previous “La Plaza” post, last week, Secretary Napolitano had to admit in a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that she was unaware of a controversial work place raid in Bellingham, Washington that occurred only days previously. (See: Hispanic Lawmakers are Hopeful Following Meeting With Homeland Security) […]