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Opinion: If we’re going to deport immigrants, we should also throw out the employers who hired them

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents serve an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven store in Los Angeles on Jan. 10.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents serve an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven store in Los Angeles on Jan. 10.
(Chris Carlson / Associated Press)

To the editor: David L. Ulin’s Jan. 23 op-ed article on the recent 7-Eleven raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents brought to mind the fact that until 2015, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was officially against mandatory employer verification of legal status of employees (E-Verify).

Federal immigration authorities quit routinely checking restaurant employees in California for green cards decades ago. By 1985, most restaurants and other service industry businesses in California were populated with illegal workers, hired with a wink and a nod at their obviously fake identification documents. They were practically invited to be here and also work in Midwest slaughterhouses and Arkansas poultry farms.

To kick these people out now, often breaking up their families, is immoral. They deserve a path to citizenship.

If they’re thrown out, their employers should logically go with them. So should the politicians who looked the other way to allow the importation of cheaper but still reliable illegal workers.

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People who made it across our border were all but promised — wink, wink — a job and legal protection. Deport all those who colluded, or deport no one.

Mark Davidson, Santa Ana

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To the editor: Sure, President Trump’s cynically crafted publicity stunts amount to transparent political theater. But there’s no denying his rare triangulation genius. Consider how two federal agencies lately undertook to reinforce the support of Trump’s base.

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First, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inaugurated a “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.” Most clear-thinking voters shrugged off this move as an ineffectual redundancy, but religious voters who feel current law does not allow them to practice their faiths virtually without restraint were overjoyed.

Next, ICE staged raids on selected 7-Eleven stores, purportedly to discourage businesses from hiring undocumented workers. This pleased xenophobes who advocate mass deportations, but the brunt of this stunt fell primarily on a few workers who would be deported, not on business owners.

It’s no mystery why Trump so dependably values image over substance.

Nancy A. Stone, Santa Monica

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