A report from the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) dismantles the false choice presented to voters faced with out-of-control levels of immigration: Grant everyone amnesty, or have a SWAT team escort each weeping anchor baby onto a bus headed for Mexico.
Liberals push legalization for more votes and welfare clients, while the GOP establishment wages war on their base to conserve the status quo of importing successive waves of poor immigrants to drive wages down to rock-bottom levels.
CIS demonstrates that immigration controls are already in place — what’s absent is the will to discuss them, let alone enforce them. Overheated rhetoric from pundits and primary candidates responding to frontrunner Donald Trump’s plan to secure the border with a wall and deport criminal aliens further removed the debate from reality. CIS attempts to break down the discussion into clearly-defined terms:
In order to know the real choices we face concerning illegal aliens already residing here if and when we take the necessary steps to prevent new waves of illegal immigration, it is useful to divide the illegal alien population into three groups: (1) those who would return home of their own accord if we left them alone (“voluntary returnees”); (2) those who would not (“reluctant returnees”); and (3) those who need not return because they have been awarded lawful status under a program similar to the 1986 amnesty (which legalized approximately three million illegal aliens).
Reaching agreement on how many and which aliens might qualify for a legalization program will be extremely difficult. However, the debate should not be driven by the false assumption that those who do not qualify must be tracked down, rounded up, and carried off en masse.
The report explains most voluntary returnees would be happy to return to their home countries, having missed their families and culture and achieved their goals while living in the world’s most generous and welcoming superpower.
It would be slightly more difficult to dislodge reluctant returnees used to making tax-free wages, raking in massive taxpayer-funded benefits, and sending billions in remittances to prop up corrupt governments back home, but not much. The political class likes to conjure up scary images of a massive police state or boxcars stuffed with immigrants to distract Americans from asking why immigration laws on the books aren’t being enforced. “If we rule out SWAT teams and boxcars, how then do we locate, and incentivize to leave, millions of illegal workers who are ‘reluctant returnees?'” CIS asks. “The answer is simpler than many politicians and journalists would have us think.”
Immigrants commit countless felonies while in the U.S. — as Breitbart News has reported:
Illegal aliens have documents — they happen to be fraudulent ones, including Social Security numbers stolen from newborn American babies, who find out that their credit has been destroyed and they owe the IRS thousands only years later. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 75 percent of illegals use fake Social Security numbers when looking for jobs. Illegals commit felony after felony as they print up fraudulent green cards, birth certificates, tax forms, and the like, bringing the corruption that cripples their home countries into America.
These crimes are detectable, CIS shows, and if politicians had the will, several programs could dramatically reduce illegal immigration:
Among the most outrageous consequences of U.S. immigration politics is that very little is being done to protect the earned benefits of potentially millions of American workers because defenders of illegal immigration have successfully defeated, stalled, or constrained any process designed to uncover and rectify SSN discrepancies.
The government is certainly capable of discovering and acting upon SSN discrepancies using:
E-Verify. For some years U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has collaborated with the SSA to provide employers the opportunity to verify electronically (E-Verify) that a newly hired employee has a valid SSN and is otherwise authorized to work in the United States.20 Because use of this free system is still voluntary for most employers, fewer than 50 percent of new hires are covered.21
SSNVS. The SSA has established the Social Security Number Verification Service, a version of E-Verify that enables employers, without involvement of USCIS, to verify the SSNs not only of newly hired employees, but also of their entire current payroll.22 For most employers SSNVS is also voluntary.
No-Match Letters. The SSA also has a longstanding program of notifying employers of mismatches between names and SSNs on Forms W-2 (so-called “no-match letters”),23 but not all employers get letters, and those that do face no meaningful consequences if they ignore them.
President Obama established precedent for a more muscular executive branch, and a new president working in the interest of Americans and lawful immigrants could use his “pen and phone” to establish agencies to fight fraud under his watch. Such a move would stop the bleeding by ensuring American workers aren’t forced out of the market by cheap, foreign labor. CIS also notes that foreigners who arrive in the nation to work and obey the law would reap big benefits as well:
If Congress is unwilling to mandate universal E-Verify without an unacceptably broad legalization program, a new president could bring about a steady reduction of the unauthorized workforce by acting directly on the information in the possession of SSA through one or more Executive Branch programs that might collectively be referred to as “G-Verify” (“G” standing for government). Apart from protecting American workers from unlawful job competition, implementing an effective G-Verify program would be doing American workers, and even legal alien workers, a huge favor by ensuring that they receive the full Social Security benefits to which their earnings have entitled them.
America’s immigration policy is currently unworkable, CIS writes. “Our government has bowed to the interests of a strange-bedfellows coalition of businesses seeking cheap labor and leftists intent on accelerating ‘demographic change.’ We line our borders with fences and armed patrolmen, and then we put up a neon ‘Welcome’ sign.”
The false choices presented by both the Left and the well-fed Right do nothing to solve it — but moving past soundbites, as CIS shows, lays the groundwork for returning to the rule of law.
Email Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org.