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By Philippe Legrain ADD COMMENTS

America is paying the price for Congress’s failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform last year. In the biggest crackdown for two decades, high-profile raids on companies suspected of hiring illegal immigrants are proliferating. And the upshot? A lot of pain for very little gain.

Honest employers are being penalised for hiring workers whose credentials they cannot reliably verify.

Illegal immigrants who are doing jobs Americans don’t want to do are being punished for the government’s failure to recognise reality.

American workers whose jobs depend on those done by illegal immigrants are suffering too.

And what does the crackdown hope to achieve?

Not an end to illegal immigration, still less the departure of all 12 million illegals on American soil. According to the New York Times,

Bush administration officials said the crackdown was the price
employers must pay to persuade voters to agree to open the gates to
immigrant workers. In an interview, Mr. Chertoff, the homeland security
secretary, said, “We are not going to be able to satisfy the American
people on a legal temporary worker program until they are convinced
that we will have a stick as well as a carrot.”

Ultimately, then, the immigration raids are political theatre: a costly sham.

Posted 08 Jul 2008 in Blog

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