Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Arizona and immigration

May 3, 2010

I think Arizona’s new law on illegal immigration is a bad idea.  But it is directed at a real problem, and I don’t have a good answer to that problem.

Arizona has a population of about 6.6 million people.  An estimated 400,000 to 500,000 illegal immigrants live within the state, about 7 percent of its population. Probably illegal immigrants comprise an even higher percentage of the work force.  The unemployment rate in Arizona is above 9 percent. Subtract the illegal immigrant population, and some of those jobs open up to citizens and legal residents. If you say citizens wouldn’t do those jobs, you mean they wouldn’t do them for the pay that the illegal immigrants get. Wages would rise for necessary jobs if that was the only way to get people to do them.

I don’t think you can stop illegal immigration by means of border patrols nor by means of spot checks of Hispanic-looking individuals. If you really wanted to stop illegal immigration, the only way to do it would be to have a national ID system, linked to a national data base with biometric information based on retinal scans or other unique individual characteristics, to require employers to keep records of the IDs of all their employees and to punish employers who fail to comply. No, I don’t like this.

An alternative is open borders.  Without barriers to immigration, there are no problems with illegals. No, I don’t think this is feasible.

The third option is what we have now – to restrict immigration, but to wink at violations of these restrictions.  The result is a large internal population of people who are outside the protection of the law – people with no recourse if they are exploited or cheated by employers or abused by government. I like this even less than the other two.

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