Citing “record-breaking” numbers of “removals,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff last week, in his “State of Immigration” address, said that DHS has “laid out” the path and the tools of immigration. It’s up to the next administration, he said, to “continue the job of securing the borders and get it done.”
Named DHS chief in 2005 by President Bush, Chertoff has vigorously pursued the post-Sept. 11 immigration crackdown with a $15 billion annual budget dedicated to immigration enforcement.
In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform that includes legalization and new worker programs, Chertoff has implemented an enforcement-only immigration policy that has won the support of immigration restrictionists. He has put immigrants on call that their papers best be in order or that risk imprisonment and deportation.
Despite a wave of lawsuits, investigative reports criticizing DHS detention practices, and protests by immigrant advocates, Chertoff has forged ahead with the controversial border fence, the large-scale jailing of illegal immigrants, and programs to enforce immigration law at the workplace.
But unlike immigration restrictionists who are cheer-leading the immigrant crackdown, Chertoff says that the enforcement-only policy is not sufficient and unsustainable. As he has in the past, Chertoff used the State of Immigration address to call for the introduction of a new temporary workers program.
Chertoff is a conservative jurist associated with the right-wing Federalist Society who was the chief counterterrorism prosecutor under former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Michelle Malkin, a crusader against immigrant rights and author of Invasion: How America Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores and In Defense of Internment, enthusiastically greeted the appointment of Chertoff as DHS chief in 2005, writing: “A look at Chertoff’s strong, aggressive record and statements on homeland security shows that Chertoff supports the kind of hard-headed, threat-profiling measures and immigration enforcement opposed by the anti-profiling zealots.”