In its crackdown on companies that hire illegal workers, the federal government has arrested nearly four times as many people in the past year as it did two years ago, but only a tiny fraction of those arrests involved criminal charges against those who hired the workers, says a Department of Homeland Security tally reported by the Washington Post. Fewer than 100 owners, supervisors, or hiring officials were arrested in fiscal 2007, compared with nearly 4,900 arrests that involved illegal workers, providers of fake documents and others, the figures show. Experts say the data illustrate the Bush administration’s limited success at delivering on its rhetoric about stopping illegal hiring by corporate employers.
Democratic consultants have advised the party’s lawmakers –already on the defensive about immigration policy — that the Bush administration’s failure to target powerful corporations more aggressively may be a vulnerability for Republican candidates who are seeking to make immigration a campaign issue. This year’s 92 criminal arrests of employers amount to a drop in the bucket of a national economy that includes 6 million companies that employ more than 7 million unauthorized workers. Only 17 firms faced criminal fines or other forfeitures this year.