The Most Important Thing to Get Right on Illegal Immigration

There is some doubt on both sides of the aisle as to whether or not we’ll ever get that famous Wall that Donald Trump promised to build in the 2016 election, and there’s certainly some doubt as to whether we’ll ever get Mexico to pay for its construction. There’s some reason to believe that the courts will not allow the Trump administration to financially punish cities that act as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants, and there’s some reason to believe that Congress will – astonishingly – provide permanent amnesty for Obama’s so-called Dreamers. To put it mildly, none of this is ideal. None of this comes close to what we voted for. But, at the end of the day, we have to be realists. There’s a very good chance that this is what we’re looking at going forward.

And yet, there is still a chance for Trump and the GOP-led Congress to make serious inroads towards rolling back the illegal immigration crisis. It can be done through legislation like the RAISE Act, which would bring chain migration to an end and make would-be immigrants prove they have something valuable to offer this country before they can receive a visa. It can be done through ending inane programs like the Visa Diversity Lottery, which is a scheme to bring in people from countries that some activist group or another decided we needed more representation from in our population. It can be done through the extreme vetting procedures Trump is putting in place, better border security, and other forms of wise legislation.

Perhaps most importantly, it can be done through a program known as mandatory E-Verify, which has recently passed the House Judiciary Committee. By passing this legislation, companies would no longer be able to hire illegal immigrants for their cheap labor schemes. This program alone would do an enormous amount to curb illegal immigration, inspire immigrants already here to self-deport, and begin turning our country back into one that respects and enforces the law. Because as bad as immigrant traffickers and drug cartels are when it comes to bringing illegal aliens across the border, no carrot is more tempting than the jobs being offered by law-skirting businesses all over the Southwestern United States (and beyond).

In an August op-ed for The Hill, immigration expert Robert Law said it was time to hold businesses accountable for the role they’ve played in worsening our immigration crisis.

“E-Verify will end the lure of jobs that entices visitors to overstay their visas in the first place, while also dissuading those who might still try to illegally cross our borders for work,” Law wrote. “The most effective and humane way of enforcing laws is to convince people there is no benefit in breaking them. When we finally shut off the magnet that draws workers here, we’ll also shut off much of the flow, while protecting the jobs and wages of our most vulnerable workers.”

Republicans have dragged their feet when it comes to proffering real solutions to illegal immigration, and it’s not because they have some inane idea about luring Hispanic voters into the party. It’s because their big business donors don’t WANT the crisis solved. It’s time for these Republicans to stand up for the American people and pass a mandatory E-Verify program.

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