January 20, 2007
More of the Blogger's Exchange
A few short response to Conor's latest.
There really is no evidence that a continuous border fence along the U.S./Mexico border will substantially reduce undocumented migration. It is likely, however, that it will increase the number of migrant deaths. I commend you to Michael Olivas's commentary on the Secure Border Act (click here).
We disagree on the efficacy of workplace enforcement. Employer sanctions under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 has not proven to be an effective deterrent to the the employment of undocumented immigrants. I disagree that enforcement has not been tried. Enforcement has been tried but it has been ineffective and resisted. Given the current labor demand for undocumented labor given the current restrictive nature of immigration law, there will be strong economic incentives to violate the law even if workplace enforcement is increased. Given the rampant violation of the law and the enforcement resources that would be needed to substantially reduce the employment of undocumented immigrants, it is unrealistic to believe that more than a few percent of the employers could be forced into compliance through increased enforcement efforts.
We do have experience with legalization programs, including two programs under IRCA. They did not operate perfectly. However, the programs successfully legalized many thousands of undocumented immigrants without excessive problems.
I do not believe that a North American Union modelled after the European Union (EU) is a perfect alternative to the current U.S. immigration system. However, freer migration of labor, like the freer trade of goods and services among the NAFTA nations, makes some economic sense. The EU does have problems, including how it has increased border enforcement at the outer perimeter of the EU. Still, more liberal migration within North America may be more politically acceptable among some than a general liberalization of the borders.
Many of these thoughts are analyzed in detail in a book (Opening the Floodgates? Why America Must Rethink Its Borders and Immigration Law) that NYU Press will publish in August 2007.
January 20, 2007 | Permalink
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Why bother citing a work that isn't yet published?
Posted by: George | Jan 20, 2007 3:56:48 PM
"We disagree on the efficacy of workplace enforcement. Employer sanctions under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 has not proven to be an effective deterrent to the the employment of undocumented immigrants."
I agree that workplace enforcement isn't effective. Congress promised in the 1986 legislation to fund the tools to make it so, but failed to provide funds for that purpose. Congress and the enforcement agencies failed to institute procedures that could identify illegal employment. The Executive Branch stood by and permitted continution of the firewall between the Social Security Administration, the IRS and ICE (then INS). If a cooperative relationship had been in existence during that period, work place enforcement would have succeeded. Workplace enforcement was a failure because big business and politicians conspired to make it fail. It's rather disingenous of you to use this argument when you are well aware that the enforcement effort was never a sincere effort.
Posted by: George | Jan 21, 2007 5:57:40 AM
I hope Horace doesn't mind, by I redirected his response to professor Johnson's posting on work place employment. It was apparently mis-posted as a response to professor Hing's posting on the convicted border patrol agents.
Posted by: George | Jan 21, 2007 6:02:10 AM