Go after the businesses who hire illegal workers
By Scott Factor
The immigration law signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer a few days ago sent shock waves through a nation divided by the issue of immigration. Now, I must warn you that what you are about to read might shock your conservative sensibilities and cause you to throw things at your screen. Before you label me as a liberal writer of tripe, I urge you to read this to the end and give it some serious consideration.
As most know, entering this country without proper authorization from the federal government via the Department of Immigration and Naturalization is a felony. People that enter the United States illegally are felons, law breakers, criminals, scofflaws, bad guys, etc. We should throw them all in jail, right? All of the estimated 12 million of them that are here. The Arizona law is designed to do just that — lock ’em up! Conservatives everywhere are cheering. Not me.
First, Arizona’s jails can barely hold the violent felons it has. Many of its jails have begun using tent cities in fenced yards to house prisoners. Also, my conservative sensibilities are not in tune with the cost of housing these people in jails. It’s expensive and a massive expansion of government would be required to do it — because jails are run by the government and that means it isn’t cheap. Expanding government and higher taxes to pay for it are not in the conservative mindset.
Second, the actions by the Arizona Governor are a reaction to the lack of action by the federal government. That’s a lot of action from inaction. The feds refuse to deal with the immigrant problem, so the state enacts a dangerous law to try and deal with it. This law won’t solve the problem; it will relocate the problem as these people, in fear of prosecution, will simply move to another state. Problem solved for Arizona, new problem created for its neighbors while the original problem is still ignored by the feds.
Washington is useless in this area. The Clinton administration ignored the problem. The Bush administration ignored the problem. President Obama, while ignoring the problem, is using the Arizona law as a springboard for winning Hispanic votes in this country. He speaks of needed immigration reform as do the other partisan clowns in Washington. The voters are being used as pawns in a partisan game of reform chess. However, I’m not sure what needs to be reformed is what is being discussed in Washington.
Immigrants come to America to find jobs. Remember, they commit a felony when they enter, so we can arrest them and send them back. But here’s a more novel idea. Our laws state that a person (including a business, organization or local government) commits a federal felony when they:
* assists an alien whom they should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him to obtain employment;
* encourages that alien to remain in the U.S., by referring him to an employer, by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way; or,
* knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.
Penalties upon conviction would include criminal fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of vehicles and real property used to commit the crime.
So, if the immigrants know they can’t work because the employers won’t hire them if they’re illegal, why would they come here? No jobs, no immigrants. However, no federal enforcement of existing laws…ignoring all of the above, which is what has been happening for the last 15 years, is the crux of the problem. It’s not the immigrant, it’s those among us that harbor, employ, and assist these people…they are to blame for this problem. So while we cheer Arizona for enacting its tough laws, we listen to our partisan friends in Washington argue about reform that isn’t really necessary. All we need to do is enforce the laws on the books. But this would require good government, which partisan government is all but about.
So here’s a novel idea. While the partisan state governments are talking about suing the partisan federal government about the health care bill, maybe they can expend some of that “suing energy” by filing a suit against our federal government for not living up to its Constitutional duties to defend and protect our borders. The federal government under President Obama will ask the courts to throw out the Arizona law on the grounds that it’s a federal issue that the state has no business trying to regulate. Maybe the state should ask that same court to force the federal government to do the job it is staunchly defending.
Why should Arizona use its new law that allows for the unnecessary harassment of legal citizens while searching for illegal citizens, when it can use court challenges to the new law to force the federal government to do what it refuses to do? We don’t need blathering politicians talking about “reform.” In my mind, a federal government that does what it’s supposed to do is all the “reform” we need.
A Floridian, Scott Factor is a graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. and earned his M.B.A. at St. Leo University. He writes conservative rants focusing on the national political landscape. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.