By Joe Guzzardi
January 3, 2012
During December’s last days, President Barack Obama initiated two actions that help assure illegal aliens a happy 2012.
First, through his Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the Obama administration sent a message to working aliens that they should be certain that at all times they earn the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act. You were expecting maybe encouragement from Solis to self-deport?
Solis was responding to Alabama’s H. B. 56 which took effect on September 1 and that requires residents to provide proof of legal status for employment, housing and school enrollment. Although the Justice Department has sued Alabama to block its law, in the interim H.R. 56’s provisions remain in effect.
Solis, a former California U.S Representative with a well documented voting history that supported amnesty and driver’s licenses for aliens and opposed stronger border protections, expressed concerns that H.B.56 might make it easy for unscrupulous employers to pay below scale wages to vulnerable illegal immigrants. In her statement, Solis worried that aliens’ “rights” could be violated.
Citing a recent flowery Geneva speech given by her Cabinet colleague Hillary Clinton about “dignity and human rights” which are the “birthright of all people” regardless of immigration status, Solis claims the Alabama law is “beneath the dignity of this great nation.”
Accordingly Solis, who once infamously said “We’re all Americans whether you’re legalized or not,” established a hotline telephone for aliens to tip off the Labor Department when in their opinion they have been underpaid or otherwise unfairly treated.
Apparently, President Obama considers the hotline idea a good one. In a delayed Christmas present to illegal immigrants, on December 29 U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement launched its own hotline which would be available 24/7 for detained individuals to phone if they think they “may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime.” The hotline will offer translation services in several different languages. On every call ICE personnel will gather the caller’s information and send it to a field office for “immediate action.”
Furthermore, according to the ICE press release, the hotline’s purpose is “to ensure that individuals being held by state or local law enforcement on immigration detainers are properly notified about their potential removal from the country and are made aware of their rights.” The Obama administration emphasized that the new policy is part of what it describes as its broader effort to improve immigration enforcement and prioritize resources to focus on violent offenders, recent border entrants or immigration fugitives. The complete ICE wording rehashed Obama’s backdoor amnesty scheme and the prosecutorial discretion memo issued months ago by ICE director John Morton.
In fairness, I’ll mention that ICE also offers a phone number to report illegal aliens. I know because I’ve called it. But I didn’t get the “immediate action” that has been promised to “detained individuals.”
In fact, most of my calls went unanswered. On the few occasions I got through, I’d describe the reaction from ICE to my message as “No comment.”
Citizens’ wishes for more enforcement obviously don’t count.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Senior Writing Fellow. His columns about immigration and other related social issues have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]