In the ongoing immigration debate some of our elected leaders postured that the federal government needs to enforce its own laws involving workers before it rounds up and returns 11 million undocumented citizens.

That apparently got the attention of federal agents who raided more than 40 sites of a pallet manufacturer this week. Fifty workers were arrested in Oklahoma City. Forty six were sent home and four held on criminal charge warrants.

"We are going to move beyond the current level of activity to a higher level," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the Associated Press Thursday. The timing -- just before some more immigration reform rallies take place -- seems peculiar but Mr. Chertoff said the investigations had been going on for years.

He said the status quo had changed and employers and employees should be forewarned that anyone who ignores the law and exploits cheap labor will be prosecuted. In the raids this week, the federal agents arrested seven current and former managers of IFCO Systems on criminal charges.

The government alleges that more than half of the company's roughly 5,800 employees during 2005 had invalid or mismatched Social Security numbers.

The managers face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each alien involved, as well as forfeitures. That will get the company's attention.

Take the case a few steps further and crack down on the Netherlands-based company's owners. They reported $116 million in profits last year on sales of $576 million.

This Week's Circulars

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