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What are the likely political effects of a secure method for the federal government to decide who is allowed to work? If we imagine (say) an online check from a biometric-linked ID card, it would be pretty easy to use that system for things other than keeping illegal immigrants from working.

I predict that if we get such a system, within about five years, we'll be using it to prevent deadbeat dads working without registering so their wages can be garnished. And that within a few more years, we'll get at least one or two scandals involving using the system to screw over someone's enemies.

The whole premise that my neighbors ought to have some say in who I'm allowed to do business with is flawed, IMO. Trying to implement that idea in law and technology is a mistake, even if it would address some nasty social effects of too much illegal immigration.

Arun Khanna

What has not been addressed is the issue of predominantly one country (Mexico) illegal immigration to U.S. versus a multiple countries 'non-skilled workers' legalized immigration to U.S. program. One could argue that a superpower that relies (in part) on soft power would prefer attracting unskilled workers from multiple countries.

H. Blix

Having just gone through a massive expenditure of time, expense and paperwork to adopt three orphaned kids from overseas you might think I have sympathy for illegal aliens here. Nope. In fact I probably have less sympathy for those here illegally having gone through the legal process to bring three kids here, and I don't, frankly, much care about the motivations and reasons for those staying here illegally.

Life's tough all over, and entire sections of the U.S. are being fiscally strained to the breaking point by the numbers of illegal immigrants now here.


Yes, but the question is what is the right solution not what solution the american people will likely decide upon. If you argued that a guest worker program was the best immigration policy it would not be a valid response to cite the improbability of US citizens supporting the program. Even if the program won't pass it might still have the best outcome if it had passed.

But if we are somehow constricting our discussion to reasonablly likely strategies then just pick the plan which gives the most equal consideration of non-american's interest as it does of americans. In short my point is that from a policy perspective it doesn't make sense to pick some arbitrary group of people and weight their interests more than that of others.

As for the American people being the ones who should vote on giving money/resources to those in the third world I don't see this at all. Why not argue that rich people ought to be the ones to vote on giving a greater amount (not percent *amount*) of their income to the government? Or to put it differently if we had a world government surely it would be reasonable to say the right thing to do would be to equally distribute benefits (or at least as equitably as possible consistant with growth). Why does how people happen to have organized themselves into political groups make any difference in this regard?

Or to put my point less controversely I think it is just as important to consider the welfare of the foreign countries when deciding immigration policy as it is our own. Now this could come out either way depending on the selectivity of the immigration (is it all the smart people) and the rate of payments sent back home. But still I think it should be looked at just as seriously as we do the effects on the US.

lance sjogren

I think failure to enforce the immigration laws is a lose-lose situation for all, not only Americans.

A couple of ways in which nonenforcement of the immigration laws hurts mankind, not only Americans:

1). Illegal immigration causes nations like Mexico to focus on what they can siphon out of the United States rather than focusing on building a stronger society for their own people.

2). Illegal immigration destabilizes the United States economically and socially. As the dominant military and economic power in the world, an unstable United States will foster instability among the other nations of the world as well.


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