July 01, 2008
Why arrest the bosses when you can arrest the workers?

This is one of many reasons why the current crackdown on undocumented immigrants is such a sham.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are staging dramatic raids across the country that routinely seize hundreds of undocumented workers at their jobs -- and leave their employers free to work another day.

The appearance of separate justice that arose during federal authorities' surprise morning raid at Action Rags USA on Houston's east side fits a nationwide pattern.

Many of the 166 workers taken into custody on suspected immigration charges in Houston last week were paraded toward vans to be transported into detention. But immigration authorities spared company officials both immediate arrest and the embarrassing "perp walk" that exposed those arrested to news photographers.

"Once again the federal government has it backwards," said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, a former state judge and prosecutor. "It is a waste of time if we don't go after the business owners who are knowingly hiring illegals.

"If we eliminate the illegal job opportunities, we can start to eliminate the problem."

No dount unwittingly, Rep. Poe has correctly identified the problem. Unfortunately, his preferred solution, which is to crack down even harder on places like Action Rags USA while hermetically sealing the southern border, is simultaneously cruel, unworkable, and hideously expensive. That's because this approach completely defies the laws of supply and demand. This is rather ironic, given the fealty that folks like Rep. Poe swear to free-market economic principles in just about every other context. I guess the immigration debate has its own logic, and the power to trump such things as needed. Which is too bad, because in principle, I agree with him: The problem is too many illegal job opportunities. It's just a shame he's incapable of taking the next step towards a solution that might actually work.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 01, 2008 to National news

** It's just a shame he's incapable of taking the next step towards a solution that might actually work. **

Which is?

Posted by: Kevin Whited on July 1, 2008 6:23 AM

Increase the supply of visas to match demand, of course. It's not like we don't have any control over this situation. We can choose to take a different approach, if the Rep. Poes would let us.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 1, 2008 9:02 AM

Well Kevin, I would suspect it's kinda like Kuff hinted at. Throw the employers in prison. Not the line managers but the people who actually make the decisions.

Unless you've got a better suggestion.

Posted by: Charles M on July 1, 2008 4:55 PM
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