So, I caught the tail end of an NPR story on the drive home discussing a recent study on America's attitudes towards immigration [Pew Research Center]. Leaving the gym, I heard another story about the mixed economic effects of illegal immigrants [Marketplace.org]. This morning, I had caught another essay on NPR suggesting that the US simply focus on reducing illegal immigration through attrition and enforcement of existing laws, rather than through new legislation [NPR Morning Edition].
The Pew study was interesting - one finding highlighted was that support and acceptance of immigrants increased with exposure to them; namely, those most against relaxed immigration policies have the least contact with them. While this invites all kinds of speculation on racism, closed-mindedness, protectionism, etc, I am mostly interested in the third link - the commentary on what to do about things.
I am really uncomfortable with the idea of further criminalizing illegal immigration - I don't see how it would affect the problems associated with illegal immigration, which I perceive mainly as the economic drag on social programs. The suggestion to target employers of illegals seems most appropriate, and appeals to this engineer's sensibilities. Consider that there are some 10 million or so illegals, and that a sufficient pool of potential illegals exists to resupply this number. It seems the logical course would be to try to reduce the driving force - crack down on employers, and this pool will naturally decline. This is also a more practical approach, as the pool of businesses hiring illegals has got to be somewhat, if not significantly, less than the number of illegals (which we're calling 10 million). So, fewer targets to pursue, and this group won't immediately replenish itself. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Unfortunately, it seems instead that Congress would rather take the easier route of targeting the nameless, faceless illegals, rather than targetting American companies that create the demand for illegals. Congress gets to trumpet a new law just in time for the fall elections, people forget as the media changes its attention, and nothing really changes. /sigh