by Howard Stephenson
Immigration Reform VII – Restoring Rule of Law & Adopting Private Sector Solutions
by Tax Watchdog | Sep 3, 2007 | 2007 Enterprise Articles
by Howard Stephenson
|Throughout this series we have described the utter failure of the federal government to provide a means for American employers to have sufficient numbers of legal guest workers to sustain the U.S. economy. We demonstrated that currently, this supply of workers is being provided through network of illegal immigration which has had the tacit support of Congress and the White House.
In this week’s column we will outline a proposal for ending illegal immigration by utilizing the free enterprise system in the enforcement of more than 10 million new legal guest worker visas.
Illegal Immigration: Why they’re leaving home
The primary reasons we have more than 11 million illegal immigrants in this country are twofold: First, Latin American economies don’t provide the kind of pay workers can get for even entry-level jobs in the United States primarily because of their countries’ failures to enforce rule of law. Capital – which would increase pay and productivity of workers – does not flow to these countries because there are countries in the world in which capital is safer. Corruption among regulators, law enforcement and the judiciary is rampant and represents an unwritten set of rules which supersede formal law.
Second, and most important, the United States government has conflicting immigration laws and economic policies. Congress and the Executive Branch have put the economic policies calling for cheap immigrant labor ahead of the enforcement of immigration laws. They have ensured that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) look the other way while our porous borders allow the virtual free flow of illegals into the United States.
The presence of 11 million illegal immigrants is not by accident. They have not forced themselves upon our country without our permission. The United States government has allowed and in some ways encouraged their entry into our country.
Window dressing border patrol efforts – – – – –
A nation which cannot control its borders cannot prevent terrorism
While the U.S. economy receives the benefits of cheap labor through lower agricultural and construction prices and less expensive restaurant meals and hotel stays, the trafficking of illegal workers poses serious threats to national security. If we cannot control workers crossing the border, how can we ensure that some who cross the border are not terrorists?
Congress simply must enforce worker visa requirements to ensure that any immigrant workers who are in this country are here legally. To do anything less is to violate our own rule of law standards and place our national security at risk.
Congress should use the free market to enforce worker visas
It is unreasonable to expect the ICE to monitor and control 11 million legal migrant workers and ensure they are complying with the terms of their visas without the assistance of the free enterprise system. The ICE budget simply could not be large enough to do the job without an undue burden on the U.S. Taxpayer. The costs of this monitoring and enforcement should be borne by the immigrant workers and their employers rather than being shifted to the American taxpayer.
This monitoring can be accomplished by requiring each worker to post a bond prior to receiving a visa. The bond would require a cash deposit. Instead of the current practice of paying $3,000 in cash to a “coyote” who assists workers in getting across the border illegally, this money would be used as a down payment on the bond which would also require withholding a percentage of wages in a trust account held by a third party trust. This trust account would belong to the worker if he complied with the terms of his visa and would be given to him when he returned to his country and presented himself to the American Consulate. It would effectively become a “golden handcuff” which would be a tremendous incentive for good behavior and compliance with U.S. laws. However, if he violated the terms of his visa or engaged in criminal activity while in the United States, his trust account would be forfeited and if it was not sufficient to pay the total face value of the bond, the remainder would be taken from the pooled trust of other workers, ensuring that all visa holders are interested in their co-workers compliance with the law and the terms of their visas.
By employing U.S. bonding companies, there would also be private sector bounty hunters to monitor the workers, look out for their interests, and when violations of the visas occur, hunt them down. ICE employees have no real economic interest in finding illegals. Bonding companies and their bounty hunters are directly affected in their own pocketbooks when they fail to supervise and monitor those workers for whom they have issued bonds.
Congress should set a date certain when employers will be prosecuted for hiring illegal workers.
Sufficient time should be allowed for employers to ensure that their workers have bonded visas with a time certain set – say, July 1, 2007 – after which employers will be prosecuted for hiring illegal workers. This enforcement with employers will help to dry up the incentive for illegal entry into this country. Instead of illegal workers coming across the border in the dark of night, legal workers would come across the border on buses with worker visas in their hands for jobs already determined.
Strict enforcement requires that employers have birth certificate and social security authentication available to ensure that foreign workers are not producing false documents.
This solution engages the natural incentive of a cash award (an employee receiving the money in his trust account) when the worker complies with the terms of the visa.
It’s time Congress begins enforcing the laws of our country instead of looking the other way
We don’t pretend to assume these ideas are an easy sell: The guest workers and their employers will no longer be able to cost-shift many of their expenses to the general public and the relative difference between the cost of a citizen worker and a guest worker will be narrowed. But free market solutions for handling legal guest workers are the only ones that will work on a sustained basis without massive increases in government expenses and employees.
We repeat our call for an Immigration Summit to include top state officials, legislators, and Utah’s entire congressional delegation. Only when we get all of the players around the same table hearing the same set of facts can we expect any movement in Congress.
Utah’s congressional delegation can and should be leaders in Washington on this issue. Let’s all invite them to step up.