The agency charged with enforcing federal immigration laws will put pressure on employers who hire illegal immigrants as a key step in its plan to step up enforcement, the agency's director said Wednesday.
"If we're going to bring about meaningful changes in behavior, you have to do that by focusing on the employer," said John Morton, who heads U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Speaking to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Morton also said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials as a result of the state's controversial new immigration law. Morton said illegal immigration should be attacked through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws.
"I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution," Morton said, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
Morton spoke as Mexican President Felipe Calderon, in Washington on a state visit, called Arizona's law discriminatory and asked Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package backed by President Obama. Read AP coverage of Calderon's visit here.