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A national ID card, coupled with penalties for hiring undocumented persons, should solve the problem, along with a fine to the hiring person and the individual subject to deportation. Increases the costs if apprehended and increases the probability of detection. It is no excuse to say I relied on a forged social security card. There are many, many secured cards today that are used for an infinite variety of businesses that need security.

Card technology is here and its use will increase in the future. Put in place the systems that will detect and involve the market in the solution.

Dan C

I was told that most European immigrants came to America with the intention of returning to their native countries after they had earned a bankroll. (Irish and Jews less then most.)

Two world wars tended to forge strong nationalistic feelings and most stayed in America for generations.

I don't know the view of current immigrants from Latin countries. Are they coming to stay or to earn a bankroll? My response would be very different for each response.

Clearly the best long run solution is to grow the Mexican economy.

The best short run solutions are to stop giving citizenship based on accident of birth, limit access to social services, (but do nothing to prevent private charities or churches), and increase penalties for hiring illegal workers.





Bill, thank you for the clarification.

IIN, myself and others are still waiting for your response.

Brett Bellmore

We don't have a current policy of beefing up border security. We have a current policy of making a show of beefing up border security, as a sop to the public, while keeping the border as insecure as possible. That's why the administration was so hostile to the Minutemen: By observing and reporting illegal border crossings, they made it difficult to turn a blind eye to them.

Any reasoning that starts from the premise that we're currently making a serious effort to obstruct illegal border crossings, and that therefore simply policing the border can't be effective, is utterly divorced from reality. We won't know if we can secure the border until we've actually TRIED.


Hi Brett. Intersting point about the minutement and the Bush administration's attitude towards them.

"Any reasoning that starts from the premise that we're currently making a serious effort to obstruct illegal border crossings, and that therefore simply policing the border can't be effective, is utterly divorced from reality. We won't know if we can secure the border until we've actually TRIED."

is also a good point. However, this does not take away from the fact that a long run a solution to immigration woes must go beyond policing the border.

Steve P

"I am attracted by a policy that allows illegal immigrants to come, but denies them eligibility for any government assistance."

I don't see what's so attractive about intentionally letting people get sick or allowing 8-year-olds to linger without any education. I would have thought that acute medical care for adults and basic education for children were the lowest common denominator for approaching this problem, so long as my preferred approach of imprisoning apprehended illegals is not feasible.

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.

Rodrigo Gallardo

Some anecdotal data, from the south side of the border. These are my impressions, but may be useful to the debate, anyhow.

Minimum legal wage in Mexico is about USD80/month. About 40% of our population is below that. About 60% is below two minimum wages.

There seem to be two main classes of inmigrants. The poorest people will usually emigrate looking for any job at all. Usually conditions are desperate enough to take a life-risking choice. It's mostly male only emigration and it's not unusual to find towns entirely devoid of adult males. They usually intend to stay 'just for a while' until they 'save enough.' Their spending while abroad is normally very limited. They usually (try to) send back most of their earnings. A common use for those sendings is to raise the capital to allow some other relative to emigrate. Wife and kids emigrate after the husband has had a rather long time to settle, not only because of the cost, but also because of the danger of crossing. The crossing will sometimes be done without the help of a coyote, which of course lowers the cost but increases the risk. This seems to be a mainly rural phenomenon. People in this class will usually have very little education, often less than 6 years of school.

The other kind of emigration is from city people who earn enough to make a living but are disgruntled with their economic conditions. There will often be a higher level of education, a few times all the way up to some college. It's more common for a family to try to get there together from the beginning. They know they will be taking on low-status jobs but are willing to trade that for economical stability. They will make the crossing with a coyote, and view the expense explicitely as investment. Said expense will be a major chunck of their savings, but usually not deplete them completely, or at least not irreversibly. This families expect their children to grow up to be 'average americans'. I have no idea how many of them acomplish that.

As for legal emigration, it's almost non-existent. I would say it's a few temporary worker programs, post-graduate students with pre-aranged positions in universities and high ranking executives of mexican subsidiaries of int'l corporations getting promoted. I've never actualy heard of someone outside those narrow classes try to do it.

lance sjogren

Here are some of the questions I think need to be addressed on this issue:

1). What illegal immigration policy is in the public interest? Not what illegal immigration policy is in the interest of illegal aliens, what illegal immigration policy is in the interest of American citizens and legal immigrants.

2). can the United States continue to exist as a sovereign nation if it refuses to enforce its immigration laws?

3). Can the United States continue to exist as a prosperous nation if American jobs are filled by whoever in the world is willing to perform a particular job at the lowest common denominator wage within the global labor market?

4). Can America continue to have a social safety net if we allow an uncontrolled influx of poor people from other nations whose needs for taxpayer-funded services vastly outweighs their ability to contribute to those systems?

5). Even aside for the adverse impact of illegal immigration on Americas working poor, trying to achieve a better life for their families, where is the morality in illegal immigration even from the standpoint of the people who come here. They have not been selected based on need. Illegal immigration is extremely discriminatory on the basis of national origin, since those in close proximity such as Mexicans come in far larger numbers than those from places such as Africa, so that those who come, on the whole, are far less needy than those who do not.

These are a few miscellaneous questions that deserve consideration.

Also, let me make a shameless pitch for my upcoming book "Immigration Politics" which should be in print around May 2006.


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