In an effort intended to address illegal immigration, the Bush administration released an executive order today asking all federal contractors to certify that undocumented workers are not on their payrolls. "The move is the latest step by the administration to ratchet up enforcement of immigration laws by using tough measures, including a series of high-profile raids on work sites and factories across the country," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Contractors are expected to certify their workers using E-Verify, an online system that matches workers against the Social Security database, the paper reports.

Separately, the New York Times published a report today on the effects of immigration raids on small businesses at the local level. The article focused on a series of raids in the panhandle town of Milton, Florida, that targeted a few restaurants, a gardening center, and a boat-cushion manufacturer.

"Three months after the local police inspected more than a dozen businesses searching for illegal immigrants using stolen Social Security numbers, this community in the Florida Panhandle has become more law-abiding, emptier and whiter," the Times reports. "Many of the Hispanic immigrants who came in 2004 to help rebuild after Hurricane Ivan have either fled or gone into hiding. Churches with services in Spanish are half-empty. Businesses are struggling to find workers. And for Hispanic citizens with roots here — the foremen and entrepreneurs who received visits from the police — the losses are especially profound." The newspaper quotes one businessman as saying that some local entrepreneurs have given families of illegal immigrants money to flee the local authorities. (To read the New York Times article, click here.)

What do you think? Are workplace raids justified or do they unfairly target entrepreneurs? And do you support the move to make all government contractors certify that their workers are documented?