Report Shows Senior Administration Official Has No Interest in Enforcement

A report written by President Obama’s top domestic policy advisor more than 20 years ago, when she served as a senior immigration policy analyst for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), ought to raise some serious red flags with members of Congress.

In 1990, Cecilia Muñoz published a report that was sharply critical of the 1986 IRCA amnesty because it failed to maximize the number of illegal aliens who “were theoretically eligible for legalization.” Of course, there is virtual universal acknowledgement that the 1986 was widely abused and that many illegal aliens obtained amnesty fraudulently.

Muñoz was also highly critical of the employer sanctions provisions of IRCA, claiming that they were ineffective in preventing illegal aliens from working in the U.S. and resulted in discrimination against certain minorities. Employer sanctions were ineffective because groups like NCLR and others fought efforts to make them effective. Allegations that employer sanctions resulted in discrimination were never proven.

This dusty old report from 1990 is extremely relevant to the Obama administration’s effort to enact amnesty in 2013. As director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Muñoz would play a critical role in implementing any legislation passed by Congress. She would have a hand in writing key regulations that are as important, if not more so, than what Congress writes into a bill.

Muñoz’s complaints about the 1986 amnesty:

  • “Employer sanctions are inherently discriminatory.”
  • “…the first stage of legalization failed to maximize participation from the pool of eligible applicants.”
  • “In the wake of this ‘one-time-only’ program, the nation appears to be left with a least as many undocumented people as when it first considered these proposals.”

Muñoz’s 1990 recommendations for a future amnesty:

  • The U.S. should complete, and expand, amnesty for illegal aliens.
  • Should focus on border enforcement, rather than worksite enforcement.
  • “Congress should repeal employer sanctions.”
  • “Congress should reject proposals to develop any type of identity card.”

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar
    Joe in SoCal on

    America doesn’t need conservative solutions or liberal solutions. It desperately requires Patriotic solutions. Amnesty for law-breakers, illegal birth tourism, and mass immigration are all betrayals of America and the American working class.

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  3. avatar

    AMERICANS FIRST!!! Why are we second in our own Country ,and why do we let others come here and tell us how to run our Country and make demands that Congress listens to. Is it about votes? What other Country could you got to and make demands and tell them what to do. Only in America , and it’s time to change this. They need to come here the way my grandparents did. With no rewards. Also, what happened to no reward for coming here illegally I guess someone changed their mind!!! Why bother to have laws, they are laughing at us!

  4. avatar


    I’m back again with part II of my comments about Amnesty, Employer Sanctions, etc. (continued). Before I go on to Employer Sanctions I want to say that I was surprised to see many drug users who qualified as Temporary Resident Aliens during amnesty. Back then, the drug users I’m talking about, were intervenous users of Heroin. If I remember correctly there were many VOLAGS (Voluntary Labor Assist Groups) who were helping to get Amnesty applicants qualified – I believe this is how the system was corrupted. SO you might want to ask yourselves how does the government intend to process 11 million plus illegal aliens applicants without the help of VOLAGS.

    Now back to Employer Sanctions. Employer Sanctions was the teeth of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and Employer Sanctions worked great. How do I know? Well, I was a Special Operations Supervisor at the Chula Vista Station and we had a specialized unit of trained investigator ES Border Patrol Agents who performed full-field Employer Sanctions investigations, Prosecutions, and a Border Patrol Criminal Alien Program. Each Border Patrol Station in San Diego Sector (nine stations total) had their own Employer Sanctions Unit. These investigations had oversight by a Patrol Agent In Charge, an Assistant Chief Patrol Agent, and a Federal Trial Attorney who specialized in Employer Sanctions. Our station was tasked with monitoring 80 businesses. 99% of everthing accomplished had to do with corrections and fines. If a business was found to be hiring known illegal aliens subsequent to informing them, they could be sanctioned which meant fines. This process was extremely successful and had great impact.

    What eventually happened is that a program of forward deployment of agents was initiated and a phony program called Operation Gatekeeper was initiated – three tiers of agents on the international border lined up (one behind the other) with the instructions to apprehend every illegal alien that crossed the border. I refret to inform you that Gatekeeper never worked. There were never enough agents. This forward deployment helped to destroy Employer Sanctions because Border Patrol Agents were now rerouted to the line and ceased completing investigations.

    Just prior to this forward deployment, Employer Sanctions Unit made the first arrest of a business owner for a THIRD TIER KNOWING HIRE of illegal aliens. The business was the Mandarin Chinese Restaurant. Now this arrest made national news because employers knowingly hiring illegal aliens could be sent to jail. Guess what, the next month, the Border Patrol dismantled their San Diego County ES Units and gave their Employer Sanction cases to the immigration district office of criminal investigators. These criminal investigators were under-staffed SO that meant the ES program became ineffective. Businesses were off the hook and back to knowing employing illegal aliens.

    So why don’t they enforce the already too comprehensive immigration law? Why by executive order did they defer 11 million deportations of illegal aliens? Why do we outsource our jobs to other countries. The reason is cheap labor. This helps our businesses. The government doesn’t earn money (they tax instead) but businesses and citizens do. Bussiness via the elite, run Washington DC with money. All facets of Washington, i..e. Judicial, Executive, House of Representatives and the Senate (Congress) is influenced by this money and power.

    SO you don’t want Amnesty. SO you don’t want be be out sourced by the oversees markets. SO you don’t want to lose the greatest weapon against the illegal alien which is proven to be Employer Sanctions. So I suggest that you stop gesturing and complaining

    I can tell you for sure that what you don’t want is going to be what you get. I haven’t given up on the immigration issue but after thirty years on the border, I was only able to win fifteen minutes out of my daily shift of work. I want you to fight for what’s right and do the right thing, but first sit down and count the cost in order to ascertain if you have enough money and power to defeat big business. If not – compromise and win a battle and don’t expect to win this war. Your government is not a willing participant.

    I hope you find this message useful…


  5. avatar

    I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments concerning this article. I would to comment on IRCA 1986 and what I saw. At that time, I had spent 7 years in the Border Patrol working at the Chula Vista Station. There were about 250 Agents assigned to our station. Throughout the year, our station would make 500 to 900 arrests every twenty-four hours. Alien smuggling was at a peak, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was over-burdened, and Agents were only apprehending 10-25% of the illegal aliens entering the United States from Mexico. I remember the incredible amount of safe houses (load houses) in the San Diego County area – filled to the maximum with illegal aliens. During routine Border Patrol transcheck duties at the airport, bus station, passenger trains, freight trains and later trolleys we would always come to a standstill because there was not enough agents, transport, or hours in the shift to process all the arrests that were made. It was common to work twelve hours or more per shift. To mention what it was like patroling the cities and international border – simply outragious.

    Having worked the the border cities of San Ysidro, San Diego, and Imperial Beach we became very familiar with the illegal alien smugglers because we arrested them countless times. Why, because we only prosecuted commercial smuggling loads of thirty or more illegals and we usually didn’t deport a Mexican National because we were busy writing deportation cases involving apprehensions predominantly from the South American, European, Asian, and African Continents. But what happend in 1986 was extrodinary – Amnesty!!! It was hard to deal with because everybody and anybody with the hopes of coming to America flooded across the Southern Border. I tried to get some satisfaction from my job by counting the 15 minute I would win during the shift, because the rest of the time we (Border Patrol Agents) were getting our butts kicked. What was more ridiculous was that the alien smugglers (former Illegal aliens) were now legal bonified temporary resident aliens who for the most part could not be prosecuted. Oh, how I grew to dislike amnesty.

    But wait, following amnesty came Employer Labor Relations – the beginning of something promissing. We trained employers for two long years before we introduced Employer Sanctions in 1989.

    I be back to finish my comments later…


  6. avatar

    Would you believe that our government gives financial assistance to La Rasa?!!

    And of course you know that this administration aids and abets illegals…even though our treasury is bare.

    Should not our funds/taxes be used for needed infrastructure and our needy?

  7. avatar
    sherri palmer on

    We have to influence our congress to think outside the box and use people from other parts of the world instead of southof border for guest work visas. or any type of employment because they have clearly abused our systems! mexicans are so use to doing what they want and laraza is so use to influencing policy they have now become out of control by showing up on news stations and making demands. They should be told outright that they do not make policy for the American people! No amnesty should eveer go into effect right away; nor should any amnesty be given to anyone w/o a thorough background check and proof of their own financial support; and, if they lose their means of support know that they will be deported ASAP! Also a message to south of the border that we are no longer giving amnesty to anyone here illegally because they have abused our sovereignty, border for years and then abused our welfare programs. All women should be deported no later than a few hrs because we have to stop that birthright citizenship! Hopefully, ending birthright will pass! The aclu should never have a voice in our judicial system because they are really a subversive group as is laraza! Our country is too lenient when it comes to listening to people who act against America…they already know their defense and they know our defense, so why give them a voice at all!

  8. avatar

    It seems clearer than ever Obama is on a mission to dismantle immigration enforcement. The question by now I pose to opponents of both amnesty and citizenship is, what do we plan on doing about this? The People were able to disrupt and turn the course back in 07′, by frying up the switchboards with voices of opposition. Now, it is all the more imperative each and every one of us proverbially shake the shoulders of our representatives and senators alike, reminding them that the proposals they are considering for 12mil lawbreakers is nothing short of aiding and abetting felons! We did it before, we can do it again. No Amnesty, No Citizenship!

    We the People, out number illegal immigrants—-Let’s get out there and demand our voices get heard

  9. avatar

    I believe that the raids on unscrupulous businesses, which opccurred in 2008 under the Bush administration, were very effective. In those days the illegal aliens were arrested and deported. Not released to walk down the road and get another job. Illegal aliens were actually self deporting. And those raids w3ere the real deal’ not the 3day notice, administrative vists that occur today. And I believe the real tanking of our economy did not take place until later on. The estimated number of illegal aliens here in the U.S. dropped from 12 to 11 million.

  10. avatar
    concerned citizen on

    Everything people are saying here makes sense. But the best way to influence legislation is to write also to the newspapers, magazines, 60 minutes, radio shows etc. Listing your points here does not impact much because it doesnt seem to many people are on these sites. Maybe i’m wrong. And always call your represenatives, local , state and federal and let them know what you think. Of course I did that and Illinois still allowed illegals to get a drivers license. I emailed Illinois U.S. senators on this and I got a letter back from Durbin stating 203 billion estimated cost in rounding up and deporting illegals. And I emailed back , I know its a steep price but i’m willing to pay it for the future and welfare of this country. And penalize companies harshly for employing these illegals. If we had a government like Switzerland , where people voted directly on proposed laws, this wouldnt be such an issue. People would vote to deport them and there would be nothing special interest groups, political radicals, the politically correct media or corporations could do about it. We need a local, state and federal referendum law that allows people to vote directly on all laws, that cant be struck down by some goofy, arrogant, power hungry judge that has a messiah complex.

  11. avatar

    No interest in ENFORCEMENT? Madame, We, The People do not WANT illegal aliens crowding into our United States Of America. Therefore, you must STOP trying to get the “illegal alien” BHO (or whatever his name really is), to let in more illegal aliens like himself! It is really not a question of “getting them in,” but how to keep them OUT! Many of us in the USA do feel for these people, however, that does not give them the “right” or even the inclination to cross OUR borders into OUR land. Immigrate? Yes, they may do so–legally, like the many who have come and became American citizens. You SHOULD encourage your citizens, if they have the desire to do so, to immigrate LEGALLY! You and people like you are at the APEX of our (American Citizens) intolerance for ILLEGAL ALIENS.

    • avatar

      I agree. I feel bad for kids whose parents brought them here illegally. But their parents were adults and knew exactly what they were doing. WE THE PEOPLE DO NOT WANT AMNESTY. Why should they be rewarded for
      breaking the law? Sometimes the kids marry an American to get citizenship. The first thing they do is give their parents citizenship. That should not be allowed. The parents, because they came as adults illegally should
      never get citizenship. They broke the law. With so many people out of work, why would the gov’t even be considering this at this time? They should be thinking how to make their lives miserable, by not being able to get jobs, and any social services. Maybe they would go home or at least tell the rest of the family not to come.

  12. avatar

    Obama goes on with illegals because his family aunt and uncle were here illegal and uncle was caught drunk driving in Massachusetts He made it possible for both to be put as refugees. How convenient. Illegal is as illegal does.

  13. avatar

    In case no one knows La Raza means the race and it is not the running race. Munos does not know what I know my dad was Chancellor of the Mexican Consulate. Illegals do illegal things Why do we call anything wrong illegal.
    Why not penalize them for breaking the law If we legals break the law ,we go to jail. Again it is not our fault that illegals come here with kids and make more kids here illegal and then expect us to take care of them. That to itself is illegal. You try that in Mexio, and other countries. see what happens. Jail Jail.

  14. avatar

    Gang of 8 is made up of Republicrats, and Demicans. I really see very little difference between the majority of Democrats and Republicans.

    McCain said after the 2007 immigration debacle, that he has seen the light, and now understood that the people didn’t want amnesty.

    I imagine that means he is senile, cause he doesn’t seem to remember this and he should retire!

    • avatar

      How right you are. Graham is anti-American and McCain no longer has a clue…We are sliding down the slope of no return rapidly, being pushed from behind by the president and his band of merry nut cases

  15. avatar
    Steve Paramore on

    There is an extremely simple answer to the entire issue of the outrageous illegal/undocumented alien situation that exists in America. ENFORCE the living Hell out of the existing laws already on the books, tweak uo the maximum penalties for individuals, employers, corporations, etal…..make it so hot and painful that NO ONE will hire an illegal worker. If there is no money in America for these law-breaking criminals…….they won’t be here….it costs less to be unemployed where they come from than it does here.

    No sympathy……NO AMNESTY !

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  17. avatar

    Slowly I am beginning to actually HATE the Democrats and how they are destroying
    my country….I do not understand the lack of thinking in a John Kerry or a Chuck Hagel.
    I do understand the President because I read his book. People like Chris Matthews contribuite
    absolutely nothing to the betterment of my country. Groups like the ACLU and La Raza should be
    branded as Terrorist Organizations and dis banded…..GOD BLESS AMERICA

  18. avatar

    Celia Munoz and La Raza have always dealt from both sides of the deck. They give the line about how this country is entitled to enforce our laws…….but, there has never ever been one bit of enforcement that they have not criticized or tried to have made ineffective.

    • avatar
      Mass Immigration Is Unsustainable on

      These types used to say “Of course we must enforce the law, BUT…” followed by a laundry list. Does the open border movement even bother with lip service to enforcement any more? They seem to be so cocky now that they don’t think it’s necessary.