Small steps in the right direction are better than no steps at all, and in recent days the Obama administration has given indications that it intends to cautiously chart a more humane course on U.S. immigration policy.
Significantly, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (right) announced that in the future, workplace raids will be undertaken only under limited circumstances.
Such raids destroy families and punish hardworking individuals who, by and large, are not criminally minded but who are doing their best to try to provide for their families.
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Remember the raid at a Baltimore 7-Eleven in 2007 that resulted in the arrests of 24 suspected illegal immigrants after officers were told "to bring more bodies in," according to an internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement report? Such actions cause plenty of heartache for immigrant individuals, families and communities, but they will never solve the problem of illegal immigration. Only comprehensive reform will accomplish that.
Another tilt in the right direction came in recent days with word that the administration will expand a $1.1 billion Bush-era program to check the immigration status of virtually all people booked in local jails, and arrange for the deportation of all incarcerated illegal immigrants. This puts the focus of immigration enforcement back where it should be: on true criminals.