Why punishing employers is not an effective immigration solution

There are a few popular “solutions” out there to the illegal immigration situation. Basically, people favor either a border enforcement-only approach, punishing the employers to hire undocumented immigrants, or finding some way to make all the illegals legal. This article is helpful to understand why focusing on the employers, while still better than an border crackdown, is still largely ineffective:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/07/31/118604/farmers-fear-congress-might-crack.html

The author interviews an employer of many immigrants in Washington state who pick berries. The employer, Steve Sakuma, says:

“These illegal immigrants, or whatever you want to call them, have been around for a long time,” Sakuma said. “And guess what? They’re not bad. They’re just making a living. They’re here doing what other people won’t do. If you think that white America is going to come out here and pick these strawberries, you have been living in the dark for a long time.”

His solution?

For Sakuma, the answer is obvious: Allow the workers, who are paid by the pound for their strawberry picking and earn an average of more than $10 an hour this season, to become legal Americans. “You call that amnesty or whatever you want to call it, it’s just the right thing to do,” he said. “We’re responsible citizens, and we’ll do what we believe is right, but change the damn law. That’s the issue. Make it right.”

The issue of illegal immigration will never be “solved” so long as there are low-income jobs available in the United States that attract workers and it is ridiculously difficult to get to the U.S. by going through the proper channels. That’s just the market: supply and demand.

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