There is no such thing as comprehensive immigration reform. There never will be.
The immigration system is vast and complicated with lots of parts. To reform it in a comprehensive manner is a large undertaking that would require agreement from many disparate factions.
Here are some dirty little secrets about immigration:
o Democrats won’t solve the problem. To do so would rob them of an opportunity to pound Republicans. An unsolved problem is an ongoing opportunity.
o Republicans misunderstand the economics of the situation. This country depends on illegal immigration. Without the illegal labor force, many jobs would go unfilled. It is true that Americans won’t take certain jobs, and those jobs are vital to the prosperity of this nation.
o We need border security, but without a functional guest worker program, border security makes the illegal immigration problem worse. Once here, illegal workers are not inclined to return home because a secure border means they may not be able to come back. A low wage Mexican worker could take six months of U.S. wages, return to Mexico, and enjoy an upper middle class lifestyle, except for the fear of not being able to come back when the money runs out.
o The largest failure of our immigration system, the one that leads to many of the other failures, is the lack of a viable guest worker program. This is the root cause, the reason we have so many illegal aliens, the reason border security is difficult, why illegals contribute insufficiently to our tax base while using taxpayer-funded resources.
Immigration reform should first focus on solving the guest worker problem. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in the same predicament in 20 years, with another 15 million illegals here calling for another round of amnesty.
There are proposals being bandied about to improve the guest worker program. They generally go something like this: Bureaucrats will gather information from businesses about the kind and number of workers they need. That information gets funneled through bureaucrats to a centralized immigration authority. That authority will determine how many guest workers are allowed, qualifications, which businesses get them, how long they stay, etc. This bureaucratic mess cannot respond to the needs of businesses in a timely manner. Businesses that can’t get the legal workers they need will find illegal workers, and we’re back to square one.
What’s needed is a need-driven, choice-based, secured-border guest worker program.
A viable guest program must be able to meet the needs of businesses and job seekers. History has shown that centralized planning fails. Only a voluntary system of contract can meet the needs of society. Yes, I’m talking about capitalism. Therein lies the answer to the guest worker problem. Meet the Red Card Solution (RCS.)
The Red Card Solution authorizes the Feds to certify and regulate employment agencies outside of our borders. They establish and enforce criteria for background checks, and develop standards for biometrically secure identification cards. The cards let alien workers cross the border legally and easily, as long as they have been matched with a job in the US.
Employers will voluntarily use RCS if the ease of use outweighs the risk of being illegal, if their competitors are also more likely to comply, and if they can quickly meet their labor needs. Enforcement is an important part of the Red Card Solution, but enforcement is easier when more workers and businesses voluntarily go through legal channels.
Foreign workers will voluntarily use the RCS rather than face the many risks of crossing borders illegally. As more employers use the system, the illegal jobs will dry up, further reducing the incentive to cross illegally.
Illegal aliens become legal guest workers, subject to the same work rules and taxation as citizen workers. The underground illegal workforce becomes, instead, a visible, taxpaying workforce that contributes more to our economy than it consumes in government services.
When guest workers are subject to the same rules as citizen workers, the cost advantage for hiring foreign workers disappears. And because the employment agency will charge a fee for arranging the foreign work contract, employers will first offer the jobs to citizen workers.
As the number of illegal crossings decreases, more resources become available to truly secure the border and focus our attention on those aliens who would do us harm.
Government solutions to the immigration problem have only resulted in more government and greater problems. As Milton Friedman said, “The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market.” The Red Card Solution is a free market system of voluntary cooperation. To learn more, go to RedCardSolution.com