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Immigration Plans Treating Symptoms or Disease?


As he traveled into the heart of anti-immigrant territory, aka Orange County, CA, earlier last week, President Bush began shifting the debate over immigration. There are two immigration issues at hand—illegal immigration and legal immigration.
Without any fix to the problems to the legal immigration system which caused so many people to come here illegally over the last two decades, what’s to say that we won’t be having a “Boycott para America” in 2026?
Reader Paul Bursch of Los Gatos, CA, probably liked what he heard from Dubya this week. He wrote to me recently expressing his angst over the GOP posturing on immigration in Washington, DC.

Most of America gets both concepts that 1) the border needs to be controlled and that 2) “this is a country of immigrants.” Republicans should be pressing for RAISING the legal immigration limits while insisting that LEGAL is the operative world. Once this week’s ICE sting operation becomes the rule vs. the exception, and employers are provided a simple means (website) of confirming the validity of an SSN+name pairing, the job demand that illegal immigrants respond to would decrease dramatically.

Indeed, it seems that everyone—not just Republicans—is missing the boat on the issue. What good is it to “fix” the illegal immigrant situation by creating a guestworker program, path to citizenship or what have you, if we don’t address the core reason that so many people have come to this country illegally over the last two decades?
Indeed, the quota system in place for immigrants wishing to come to the United States seems woefully out of date. According to the Los Angeles Times, “the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that current demand for registered nurses exceeds supply by about 100,000 annually. The department expects this shortage to increase tenfold, to almost 1 million annually, by 2020. Yet the quota for the H1-C visa, which allows qualified nurses from other countries to work in the U.S. for up to three years, is set at a miserly 500 a year.”
Liberalizing LEGAL immigration would solve two problems—it would prevent people from feeling they need to violate the law to pursue the promise of the land of opportunity and it would allow businesses to meet their workforce needs.
Every time you hear labor unions bemoaning a “shortage” of workers whenever the police, nurses or teachers want to justify a pay raise, ask yourself whether that shortage would exist if we had a more sensible immigration policy?
It comes down to supply and demand…There are jobs here that need filling—and they’re not all minimum-wage proposals as some would lead you to believe—and there are people willing to fill them. The United States’ immigration policy creates what economists would call “market failure” (if I remember my college years correctly), creating inefficiencies in the economy that in the end, hurt us all.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 1:56 PM | Permalink

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