Obama's Immigration Policies Under Fire

By Eric S. Page
|  Tuesday, Aug 4, 2009  |  Updated 12:59 PM PDT
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Obama's Immigration Policies Under Fire

Mario Castillo/Jam Media/LatinContent/Getty Images

A Mexican fan wears a Barack Obama mask showing the slogan "Yes We Can" before a soccer game between the United States and Mexico at Giant Stadium, on July 26, 2009, in East Rutherford, NJ..

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If you believe successful government makes nearly everyone unhappy on some level, then the White House's immigration policy is a winner.

Although Barack Obama campaigned on a pledge to soften the Bush White House's stance on illegal immigration, the Obama administration has taken many pages out of his predecessor's playbook, according to a published report.

These days, the Department of Homeland Security is focusing on expanding  E-Verify -- an existing program of employee immigration-status verification -- the New York Times reported, and stepping up the controversial 287(g) program, a policy permitting local and federal law-enforcement officials to cooperate on, among other things, immigration checks of people taken into custody. Also, the feds' are resisting efforts to dictate conditions in federal immigration detention centers.

Critics have slammed E-verify, arguing that the database contains thousands of errors and has led to as many as 19,000 people -- of 6.4 million checked -- being mistakenly identified as illegal immigrants. Opponents of 287(g) fear the program does not adequately protect against potential abuses, including racial profiling, and question the continuation of an agreement between the current administration and the controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, in Arizona. The sheriff, the paper reported, has been accused of using 287(g) as a tool to harass Latinos inside his jurisdiction.

Not surprisingly, the Obama administration has received some support in Washington for its policies, including from New York Sen. Charles Schumer. The Obama administration, though, has critics on the other side of the aisle, the paper reported, including local Republican Rep. Brian Bilray.

“After 20 years of broken promises, it takes a lot more than token gestures,” Bilbray told the paper.
 

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