Thinking about Immigration the Wrong Way
Two stories caught my attention this morning. First, the current immigration bill would create a work database for all Americans.
The so-called Employment Eligibility Verification System would be established as part of a bill that senators began debating on Monday...
All employers -- at least 7 million, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- would be required to verify identity documents provided by both existing employees and potential hires, the legislation says. The data, including Social Security numbers, would be provided to Homeland Security, on penalty of perjury, and the government databases would provide a work authorization confirmation within three business days.
Even parents who hire nannies might be covered. The language in the bill, called the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act, defines an employer as "any person or entity hiring, recruiting, or referring an individual for employment in the United States" and does not appear to explicitly exempt individuals or small businesses. (Its Senate sponsors did not immediately respond on Monday to queries on this point.)
Why is this considered a good idea? One screw-up by the government and American citizens will be legally barred from working. What kind of controls will there be on this database? How will you challenge a denial of your work authorization? How will you know that someone in Washington didn't put you into the database out of sheer spite? This is a bad, bad, bad idea.
Secondly, Ed Morrissey relays the story of a sex slavery ring that exploited illegal immigrants.
The women came mostly from Mexico and Central America.
When they arrived in Minnesota, the women had their passports and other identifying documents taken away and they were forced into a world of prostitution. In one night, two women serviced more than 80 men in a south Minneapolis house.
Ed has a solution for this problem:
This is a horrific case, and one which points out the need for strong border control. The men conned the women into crossing the border, and then they took advantage of their illegal status to force them into prostitution.
Sure, these women were conned and controlled because they were not legally allowed to work or live in the United States. Preventing them from coming here at all would have prevented their enslavement. On the other hand, allowing them to enter legally would have also prevented their enslavement. Placing high barriers to immigration increases the chances that people will be "helped" across the border, then exploited. Placing low barriers to immigration allows people to come to the U.S. in search of a better life, without fear of future enslavement. Why are we so eager to choose the first path and not the second?