"Why Some Would-Be Immigration Reformers Don't Have the Answer"
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The Senate is again considering various proposals to address our massive illegal-alien problem, and the competing bills have one thing in common: They claim to offer "realistic" solutions to the supposedly unrealistic desire to enforce the law. Writer Tamar Jacoby, perhaps the most energetic salesman of the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill, used some form of "realistic" ten times in her testimony at a July Senate hearing. Senators Kennedy, Cornyn, Brownback, and Feingold all touted the realism of their preferred solutions at the same hearing, and the New York Times and Washington Post have done the same in numerous editorials.
The problem, of course, is that no one has checked whether our very real immigration bureaucracy is capable of implementing any of these proposals...
...The point is not that these requirements are inappropriate; if you're going to be registering illegal aliens, you'd certainly want to know about their health status and involvement with terrorism. But the most pressing question remains: Is it achievable? What would happen, in the real world, if one of these "realistic" solutions were to become law?
Two words: "fraud" and "paralysis."
...So, if an immigration package anything like McCain-Kennedy or Cornyn-Kyl were to pass, the following would almost assuredly occur: Immigration offices would be deluged by millions of applications that would need to be approved under a tight deadline; harried DHS employees would be forced to put aside their other duties to meet the onslaught; candidates for citizenship - foreign spouses of Americans, refugees, skilled workers sponsored by employers - would effectively be pushed to the back of the line; political pressure would force DHS to cut corners in adjudicating the applications; and huge numbers of ineligible applicants would be approved (in addition to the huge numbers of eligible applicants)...
...Instead, the illegal population needs to be decreased via muscular, across-the-board immigration enforcement over a long term. Rather than wait for a magic solution, we can implement an attrition strategy right now, using available resources. We could, for instance, immediately reject fake Social Security numbers submitted by employers on behalf of new employees (the government currently looks the other way). Or the Treasury Department could instruct banks that the Mexican government's illegal-alien ID card is no longer a valid form of identification. Or a small portion of enforcement resources could be devoted to random raids at day-labor gathering spots. This has an added advantage: As more resources become available - be they monetary or technological - they could easily bolster the attrition approach, as opposed to current proposals, which from the get-go require vast and untested programs...