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  • Article: Will the Trump Administration's "Deportation Force" Use Workplace Raids? A Possible Glimpse into Our Immigration Future By Kevin R. Johnson

    Will the Trump Administration's "Deportation Force" Use Workplace Raids? A Possible Glimpse into Our Immigration Future


    Donald Trump has promised a "deportation force" tasked with removing the 11 million undocumented immigrants from the United States.  I have been thinking about whether, as part of increased interior immigration enforcement, the Trump administration might increase the use of workplace raids.  The Obama administration has not used raids as much as the Bush administration did.  The controversy surrounding the raid of a meat processing plant in Postville Iowa, in May 2008 in all likelihood convinced the Obama administration of the community concerns with such operations.  The Postville raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville, Iowa was the largest single raid of a workplace in U.S. history and resulted in nearly 400 arrests of immigrant workers who were charged criminally with identity theft, document fraud, use of stolen social security numbers, and related offenses. After quick trials, the majority served a five-month prison sentence before being deported.


    Agriprocessors plant, Postville Iowa

    Liz Robbins of the New York Times reports on a recent workplace operation that may give us an idea on what might come in greater frequency in the Trump administration.  Immigration enforcement agents were supposed to be targeting the restaurant owner. But one morning last month the officers burst through the back door at La Divina, a Mexican market and taqueria Buffalo, to arrest employees, capping a two-year investigation into the labor practices of the restaurant’s owner. The restaurant owner, a legal permanent resident from Mexico, along with two associates, allegedly had been harboring undocumented workers in homes around Buffalo, transporting them to work, and paying them off the books. The owner was arrested in October. Two dozen of his workers were swept up in simultaneous raids at all four of his restaurants. It was one of the largest immigration workplace sweeps in recent years.

    As Robbins writes, "In the days after the presidential election, immigrant rights advocates and supporters of immigration restriction alike wondered whether these raids were a preview of the stricter enforcement policies that President-elect Donald J. Trump promised during his campaign."

    This post originally appeared on Law Professor Blogs © 2014-2016 by Law Professor Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

    About The Author

    Kevin Johnson Kevin Johnson is Dean, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law, and Professor of Chicana/o Studies. He joined the UC Davis law faculty in 1989 and was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1998. Johnson became Dean in 2008. He has taught a wide array of classes, including immigration law, civil procedure, complex litigation, Latinos and Latinas and the law, and Critical Race Theory. In 1993, he was the recipient of the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award.Dean Johnson has published extensively on immigration law and civil rights. Published in 1999, his book How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man's Search for Identity was nominated for the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Dean Johnson’s latest book, Immigration Law and the US-Mexico Border (2011), received the Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards – Best Reference Book. Dean Johnson blogs at ImmigrationProf, and is a regular contributor on immigration on SCOTUSblog. A regular participant in national and international conferences, Dean Johnson has also held leadership positions in the Association of American Law Schools and is the recipient of an array of honors and awards. He is quoted regularly by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other national and international news outlets.

    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      It's a virtual certainty that he will increase employer sanctions. The job magnet is the main draw that brings undocumented aliens to the US and keeps them here.

      Employer sanctions were established by IRCA as part of the wipe-the-slate-clean-and-start-over deal in which the dems were promised a legalization program and the republicans were promised employer sanctions and border security to keep a new group from taking the place of the ones being legalized. The dems got legalization, but the republicans never got their end of the bargain.

      In fact, Trump made e-verify one of his enforcement promises. It is believed that an effective e-verify system would make it easier for employers to limit hiring to authorized workers and thus facilitate prosecuting employers who hire unauthorized workers, i.e., make it harder to claim that they thought the worker had authorization.

      The Democrats had 30 years to cut a deal with then republicans for comprehensive immigration reform, i.e., since IRCA of 1986. They held out for a deal that would satisfy all of their needs. They have nothing to show for holding out and now they are faced with at least four years during which the republicans will not be inclined to give any concessions to the dems.
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      Sure, it is always good fun - an entertaining parlor game - to blame the Democrats for what could easily turn into an anti-immigrant horror show by the new administration during the coming 4 years, 8 years, or lifetime presidency (in the admittedly unlikely situation that the new president shows the same degree of respect for the two-term limit in the constitution that he has shown in his speeches and actions for other constitutional guarantees, such as those protecting free speech, freedom of religion, freedom from torture, due process of law and birthright citizenship).

      No matter what excesses our new Leader might engage in (if he does - this is not yet known, but early signs are not encouraging) regarding mass deportation and incarceration of immigrants who do not have the right papers, and/or denial of immigration benefits to those who are trying as hard as they can to follow the law, one can always say that the Democrats had it coming to them because they didn't go along with enough Republican immigration demands in the past.

      On the other hand, one could also point out that the Republicans have followed a relentlessly anti-immigrant agenda for at least the past 20 years, ever since IIRIRA was passed, and that the incoming president's immigrant baiting and harsh anti-immigrant proposals are merely extensions of (or in some cases even milder) than some proposals which the Republicans have been advocating for the better part of the last two decades.

      If the immigrant community doesn't like certain things that the president-elect does during his term(s) in office (which is just about guaranteed) they should look to the people who put him in power as the source of their problems, not the party that tried to stop him from becoming president (and that actually won the popular vote in the presidential election).

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law

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