As anyone who keeps up with this sort of thing could guess, the Wall Street Journal likes Bush’s idea:
The debate over President Bush’s new immigration reform has so far been mainly about election-year politics. But what we believe most commends it is that it recognizes the world as it exists.
Like it or not, the U.S. is part of an integrating regional and world economy in which the movement of people across borders is inevitable. Despite nearly 20 years of efforts to “crack down on the borders,” the immigrants keep coming–an estimated eight million without legal U.S. documents today. As long as the per capita income differential between the U.S. (nearly $32,000) and Mexico ($3,679) continues to be so wide, we can’t stop immigrants short of means that will violate our traditions, our conscience, and our national interest.
I haven’t said much because I’m torn over the issue. I think present policy does not recognize reality. I think that if there are people who will do the job that I don’t want to do, I should support that. I know from my father-in-law’s experience that it is easier and cheaper to ask a migrant worker to assist him in some chores around his house, than to get anyone else.
The problem I have, however, is large. Most legal immigrants I know think this is a horrible idea. I think it is something when the immigrants who came here legally think it is bad. Also, it seems that there will be no lesson learned. We aren’t enforcing our current immigration laws. Now we are giving amnesty — and that is what it is. I wouldn’t be surprised if that increased illegal immigration. Plus, it’s my understanding they get to take home money and benefits that I can’t get until I’m 65. Also, will illegals now be paid by check with withholdings taken? If so, will employers hire them or continue to hire undocumented illegal aliens.
Here, I guess, is my biggest concern and I say this as someone who knows little about current policy or the proposed policy. If an illegal immigrant will get a fictitious legal identity in order to work after registration, he will have to register his job. If so, then it does look like the employer would have to pay withholdings, etc. A lot of them don’t do that now. So, once an illegal registers, will employers continue to employ the illegal and pay minimum wage or will the employer continue to find undocumented illegals so the employer can pay by cash without withholdings. I think the latter will happen.
If that does happen, then we will have two classes of illegal aliens — documented and undocumented illegal aliens. More illegals will come to take the jobs of those who documented themselves for the reasons addressed above.
The other question I have is, will we begin to enforce current immigration laws against illegal aliens who don’t document themselves? If not, what is the point of this new program?