Chertoff's comment sounds comical - it is very clear that DHS and ICE are not "serious" about enforcement. What they are serious about is producing fear among a significant amount of the U.S. population - while falsely announcing that enforcement will create a "safe America" for citizens.
Producing fear has always been known as a way to maintain powerful political control of a group (or groups) of people. Being afraid gets people to listen and obey.
Being afraid keeps the Other group (i.e. undocumented immigrants) quiet and subservient. It also keeps people from doing anything - they stay in their jobs, schools and neighborhood. New stories about undocumented people being detained while they are trying to return to their home countries is scaring even those who have given up.
The idea is create terror for a few - this will produce an example for the rest.
This tactic has already worked. A planned protest on May 1 in Chicago has been canceled - the reason being that protesting would make too many people on the other side angry - and might hurt negotiations on a better comprehensive immigration package.
Undocumented people in the U.S. are more vulnerable than ever. The idea of "reporting" someone to immigration was something that very rarely happened. Now it is commonplace. They live in fear - many having double lives (how many DREAMERS have kept their status a secret?)
Chertoff and his people are serious about disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands of families, creating situations where many many children are being separated from their families or returned to a country they have no memory of.
If he were really serious he would be shipping everybody (who is undocumented) in railroad cars like Hitler did. But he isn't - because in truth - Chertoff and his supporters don't really want all the undocumented workers to leave... they just want to bother a few so they can shake up the rest.
This is all theater - a true tragedy - the acting is good - reality is on shaky ground.
Speaking of theater and tragedy, where is the chorus that should be telling Chertoff he is doing something wrong?
U.S. Tweaks Proposal On Illegal Workers
Employers Could Get Warnings in June
By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 22, 2008; A03
The Bush administration yesterday renewed its drive to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal immigrants by slightly altering an earlier initiative stalled by a federal judge since last September.
If the new proposal satisfies the court, the government could begin warning 140,000 employers in writing as early as June about suspect Social Security numbers used by their employees and force businesses to resolve questions about their identities or fire them within 90 days.
The result could intensify an economic and political debate over the administration's immigration policies in the months leading up to November's elections for president and Congress.
The mailings, known as "no-match" letters, were enjoined by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco while he hears a lawsuit brought by a wide-ranging coalition of major American labor, business, farm and civil liberties groups.
The plaintiffs, including the AFL-CIO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Civil Liberties Union, allege that the plan will cause major workplace disruptions and discriminate against legal workers, including native-born Americans.
A systematic effort to wean the U.S. economy off an estimated 8.7 million illegal workers has long been blocked by economic interests and civil rights concerns. But the Bush administration considers that effort the linchpin of its immigration enforcement efforts.
"We are serious about immigration enforcement," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a brief written statement yesterday. "The No-Match Rule is an important tool for cracking down on illegal hiring practices while providing honest employers with the guidance they need."
The 44-page proposal released yesterday makes mostly technical changes to the administration's initial proposal. It includes a statement about the regulation's impact on small businesses, as required by a 1980 law. According to DHS, compliance will cost companies with fewer than 100 workers $3,000 to $7,500 overall, while it will cost larger companies $13,000 to $34,000. But these estimates do not include the cost of firing and replacing workers who lack legal documentation.
"DHS does not believe that the direct costs incurred by employers . . . would create a significant economic impact" on most companies, the department stated.
Opponents said the proposal makes no substantive changes to a plan that Breyer in October wrote would have "severe" effects and produce irreparable harm to innocent workers and employers. Lawyers familiar with the plaintiffs' case said they expect to battle the department in the rulemaking process and the courts through the summer.
Critics have noted that the Social Security Administration's inspector general has concluded the database used to cull suspicious numbers contains erroneous records on 17.8 million people, 70 percent of whom are native-born U.S. citizens. Even if the actual error rate of no-match letters is far lower, labor leaders say that unscrupulous employers will use the rule to burden or harass anyone who looks or sounds foreign.
"It's an attempt to justify the fundamentally flawed database without actually fixing any of the problems," said Lucas Guttentag, director of the ACLU immigrants' rights project.
Angelo I. Amador, director of immigration policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the DHS glossed over the true costs. "It keeps the questions before the judge the same. I would have been more concerned if they had come up with a big study" detailing the broader impact on businesses, he said.
for link to WP article click the title of this post