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A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step

"What do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?"

"A good start!"

I've said repeatedly that the problem with illegal immigration, like so many situations, is a simple matter of supply and demand. As long as there's a demand for something, there's going to be a supply. The demand for illegal aliens comes mostly from employers who want workers who both work cheap and won't complain to the government if they're treated unfairly. Essentially, they see the economic benefits in having workers who are just one or two steps above slaves and serfs.

As it's simple economics that drives the matter, it should be an economic solution that solves it. Simply make it more expensive to hire illegal aliens than any benefits it might win the employer And it seems to be working, as the Boston Globe publishes not one, but two stories about the situation.

The first is out of Arizona, where the state legislature got into the act when Washington wouldn't get off its ass and passed its own laws cracking down on employers who hire illegal aliens. The penalties are harsh -- perhaps even draconian -- but they're working. Illegal aliens are packing up and moving out of Arizona, and they are specifically citing the lack of jobs. And those jobs are drying up because the businesses have weighed the benefits of hiring illegal aliens against the costs of being caught violating the new laws -- and have decided that it's simply not worth the risk.

Meanwhile, the Globe also publishes an article that indicates that at the national level, the focus remains on the illegal aliens themselves. The much-publicized raids and other enforcement measures tends to round up the workers for deportation, while the employer gets away with a fine.

It's not the best solution, but I think it's a workable one. The courts have repeatedly ruled that the handling of immigration law is a federal concern, and not the prerogative of the states. And while I disagree with that, it is the law of the land. So the states really can't do much about the workers themselves.

But the states can go after the employers. Let's face it -- a large number of employers of illegal aliens are small businesses. The states, with their tighter focus and smaller area of jurisdiction, are better equipped to handle some employers (such as, for example, the company that used to tend Mitt Romney's lawn) who simply don't rise to the level of being considered worthy of the attention of a federal prosecutor. They tend to reserve their resources for the really big cases, and ignore the smaller ones.

If enough states -- especially those with a significant illegal alien population -- start cracking down on some of the economic underpinnings of the illegal alien system, we will find we don't need to deport 12 million/15 million/20 million/2.7 kajillion illegal aliens. The vast majority of them will simply deport themselves.

Couple that with cutting or eliminating public benefits afforded to illegal aliens (welfare, housing assistance, food stamps, etc.) and resisting measures that will make it easier for them to assimilate into society (no drivers' licenses, etc.), and we'll find that the number of illegal aliens left behind will be minimal.

Once that is rolling along nicely, then we can look at loosening the restrictions on LEGAL immigration. As has been noted repeatedly, we are largely a nation of immigrants (I can only verify my ancestry as American back about four generations), and we ought to welcome with open arms those people who are looking to leave their ancestral homes and come here to make a new life, to take part in the American dream. Some of the most ferocious patriotism can be found not in those who, like me, have known nothing else, but among those who have lived elsewhere -- and rejected it in hopes of becoming Americans. They, unlike me and others like me, prize their citizenship and don't take it for granted.

I am very much in favor of a fairly open-door policy on immigration. But a door standing by itself is pretty meaningless -- whether it's open or closed is largely irrelevant if one can choose to simply walk around it. An open door, attached to a strong wall and closed windows, is an invitation to come in -- but on our terms.

And that is what our immigration model should be.


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Comments (9)

On the matter of welfare fo... (Below threshold)
Scott in CA:

On the matter of welfare for illegals, it's already illegal to aid them with cash welfare, food stamps, or Medicaid. If their children are US born, they are eligible, but the illegal parents are not. Public housing tenants must provide proof of citizenship or legal residency status as of a couple of years ago. I work for a county welfare department and our agency has hundreds of illegals getting aid for their citizen kids. Again, it's the "anchor baby" syndrome. If children born to illegals here were not citizens at birth, we wouldn't have this problem. US laws already make it clear that the citizens of diplomats here do not receive citizenship by birth as they are not under the "jurisdiction" of the US. Illegals aren't either.

A journey of a thousand mil... (Below threshold)
Tregonsee Author Profile Page:

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single steppe.

G. Khan

A journey of a thousand mil... (Below threshold)

A journey of a thousand miles must begin mit ein gooozz schtep.

A. Hitler

A journey of a thousand mil... (Below threshold)
eneils bailey:

A journey of a thousand miles must start with a good plane ride that covers at least 990 miles of that 1000 miles.

Anything longer than ten miles and I will have to stop and piss.

I reflect on the way the si... (Below threshold)

I reflect on the way the situation is being handled after spending 4 years in Germany, as my husband was stationed there.

We had two children there. Germany makes it very clear being born on their soil does not constitute citizenship...and no one seems to complain.

Why on earth should we grant this right so quickly? Legal immigrants giving birth...give birth to US citizens,illegals give birth to children of their nationality(for example Mexican) born abroad. Causes paperwork, but clarifies the persons status.

Both my sons were born in German hospitals...not on US bases, and the birth certificates are clear.

Great post!

Correct me if I'm wrong:</p... (Below threshold)

Correct me if I'm wrong:

Mexican nationals, here illegally, have a child on US soil and it's declared a US citizen. But when they decide to self-deport back to Mexico, they have to apply for Mexican citizenship for their children because Mexico doesn't recognize them as such?

Have I got that right? If so, it's freakin' ridiculous.

Let me understand this: th... (Below threshold)

Let me understand this: the states cannot enforce federal immigration law against workers because it's federal law, BUT they CAN go after businesses who violate . . . federal immigration law?

Interesting legal theory.

Not quite, Jim. They're goi... (Below threshold)

Not quite, Jim. They're going after businesses for violating labor laws. Wages, improper documentation, working conditions, etc. etc.

But you're right, it's an interesting legal theory -- splitting the responsibility between the federal and state/local governments. I think I like it.


This post was quoted in tod... (Below threshold)

This post was quoted in today's Kansas City Star: http://www.kansascity.com/273/story/419145.html






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