Like many of my ideological brethren, I’m a dedicated supply-sider, so the solution to our current illegal immigration crisis seems obvious to me: punish the companies that employ illegal immigrants.
Let me take a step back. I believe there are three parties primarily to blame for the current mess: the Mexican government, the US government and US employers. (There’s a second tier of blame that needs to be assigned to the illegal immigrants themselves, but I hold the enablers of their illegal behavior more responsible for the macro problem). The Mexican gov’t has made it their official policy to ferry the lower classes northward across our border, while the US gov’t has deemed it politically impossible to do anything substantive about it. US employers, meanwhile, seem to view illegal immigrants as a cost-cutting measure and employ them accordingly. We, the people of the US, have little-to-no ability to affect the Mexican gov’t’s policies, but we do have that ability with our own gov’t. We can also directly affect the businesses themselves, primarily by means of being careful consumers and directing our dollars to companies that don’t break the law.
My solution is three-fold and quite simple, really:
- Either mandate that any job in the US must be paid minimum wage or eliminate it (the minimum wage) entirely. The reason employers hire illegals is that, by dint of their situation, the immigrants are hardly in a position to complain to the authorities if they’re ill-treated or underpaid, thus the employers can get away with paying them far less than a legit American citizen.
- If illegal immigrants are being underpaid or mistreated by their employers, allow them a single shot at our legal system. Let them sue their employers for a sizeable, dare I say punitiveamount. Ensure them that they may remain in the US for as long as their civil trial takes, but as soon as they collect their jury award, they must immediately return to Mexico, where they can live like kings off the winnings.
- If employers are caught using illegal immigrants as workers, they should be fined double the amount of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Federal tax they would have paid per illegal worker used. If Wal*Mart would have owed say $2,000 per minimum wage employee for fiscal year 2005, then the Feds should collect $4,000 per head. States and localities should also get a crack at levying a double taxation on any such employers.
I think these solutions are eminently fair and in no way could possibly be construed as “anti-immigrant” or “racist”, which seems to be the Republicans’ primary concern in addressing immigration reform. This is completely pro-immigrant – we’re sticking up for the ill-treated illegals while at the same time protecting our national interests. Businesses already make a cost-benefit analysis when hiring illegals; obviously, it’s perceived as worth it for a significant portion of them at the moment. I want employers to see each and every illegal employee of theirs as a potentially damaging lawsuit. I want them to be terrified at the prospect of even accidentally hiring an illegal immigrant.
As for the whole “guest worker Visa” issue, I have one very simple solution: at no time shall they be available to anyone within the borders of the US. If you want a guest worker Visa, you have to return to your home nation, where a US consulate or embassy employee will be more than happy to help you obtain one.
Now if I could only find a couple of sponsors for just such a bill in Congress…