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    I have an old friend that has a friend that works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, otherwise known as ICE. While talking to my old friend the other day I mentioned the upcoming May 1st protests and wondered why ICE wasn't paying attention to what businesses close May 1st to try to get a good idea of who they should raid. Turns out that they may be doing just that.

    It seems that ICE has more money these days to do the job they were created to do (namely capture and deport those who are in the country illegally) and they may even set up a hotline where citizens could call in and report businesses that close on May 1st.

    In a related story:

    Search For Illegal Immigrants Stepping Up

    (AP) Bloomington, Minn. More door-to-door searches and workplace raids for illegal immigrants are planned in Minnesota now that more money is available for such moves, an official with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement says.

    "You'll definitely see more large-scale (employer) operations," said Claude Arnold, who heads investigations at the regional office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    "It's one of our priorities," he said. "We got money and resources for worksite enforcement -- and we will get more."

    More employers also will be arrested, Arnold said. "When you see an executive wearing handcuffs," it can have an impact, he said.

    Congress approved a 17 percent increase in ICE's overall budget nationally last year but funds for detention and removal of illegal immigrants nearly doubled, according to an analysis by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

    Good deal. It's about time we got this stuff going. Before you folks that support illegal immigration start yelling, I want to point out that we are talking about ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION here. This country has the right to have her borders protected, and indeed it is one of governments highest priorities to secure, protect and defend the borders. Without borders a nation does not exist.

    The article continues:

    As enforcement is increased, however, immigrant advocates say many legal residents are frightened as they also are getting caught up as agents search for illegals.

    "People are scared. "They (agents) are looking for specific people," said Karen Ellingson, a veteran immigration attorney from St. Paul. "But a lot of people are being swept up just because they're there."

    The ICE is now pursuing its original mission more aggressively after several years of focusing on counterterrorism, he said.

    The refocusing means searching for and arresting illegal immigrants, especially those with criminal convictions and orders for deportations; combatting identity fraud; busting employers, and investigating transnational gangs.

    My friend over at The Voice Blog seems to have an ear to the ground also and the drums seem to be beating the same war cry:

    While some businesses will be forced to close on May 1, 2007 because of the immigrant walk out there will still be several that will be open as law enforcement are ready for this shut down. Stores and restaurants and even industries that close on that day will be signaling law enforcement that they at the very least have a few illegal immigrants working for them and we have it on good authority from a source that chose to remain anonymous that those places will be added to if not bumped up the list of those companies to be raided. Our source says that closing your business on that day is the same as putting out a red flag that says come and get me.
    Ice has stepped up its raids of businesses in recent weeks as a result of public pressure over illegal immigration, garnering arrests and deportations of many undocumented immigrants and is set to continue and even increase the raids as more targets become available.

    So go ahead and close your business on May 1st and let your underpaid illeagal staff go march for "La Revolucion."

    Ice will be watching.

    The full article is linked in the title.
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