NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 10, 2006

In November 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the most important immigration reform bill in a decade says Rep. Tom Tancredo (R - Colo.). Among other things, it calls for the construction of a security fence along our southern border, requires federal and local law enforcement to cooperate on immigration matters, and mandates that employers use an instant check system to verify their employees' legal status.

  • Some 60 percent of Americans support a fence, and 49 Democrats voted for it, making the fence one of the most popular provisions in the reform bill.
  • The fence is popular because it is effective; where the fence is constructed near San Diego, there is virtually no illegal migration or cross-border gang activity.

The bill's mandatory employer verification will reduce the jobs magnet that drives mass illegal entry and is an effective and fair way to fix the system, says Tancredo:

  • Last year, nationwide, the federal government sent only three notices to businesses that it intended to fine for hiring illegal employees.
  • The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) online instant check system -- which has been up and running for seven years -- provides an inexpensive way for businesses to avoid fines in the first place.

In the long run, waves of illegal immigration will have a much more negative effect on America's economy than fixing the system, says Tancredo. Leading economists such as Harvard University's George Borjas have shown that the wages of low-skilled American workers have stagnated in the past decade. This may be the first time in our nation's history that the economy's rising tide has failed to lift all boats. It's not popular to say in Manhattan's corporate board rooms, but heartland Americans know that such a labor situation is not economically sustainable, says Tancredo.

Source: Rep. Tom Tancredo, Letter to the Editor, Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2006.

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