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« Mother of Presidents | Main | Hell Of a Way to Run an Airport »

The Governor Boots Immigration, Too

Governor Owens, trying to get back into the graces of the free-market conservatives whom he abandoned in his rush to raise taxes last year, has now endorsed the idea of a privately-run guest-worker program for the US. The image that comes to mind is that of a plane, having lost hydraulics, trying to steer using engine power, and wildly overcorrecting back and forth.

I'm as free-market a conservative as they come, but even I can see that this is, to be blunt, a horrible idea.

To be fair, this isn't the fox guarding the henhouse. This is the fox being given the keys to the henhouse while the owner goes out recruiting more foxes. Business doesn't want the laws we have now enforced. Their entire incentive is to keep the borders as open as possible. I have no doubt that business could devise a plan that was easy-to-implement. Also easy-to-outlive, outrun, evade, avoid, duplicate, deceive, and corrupt.

Once it became clear that some guy with a box of green paper and a Xerox machine was handing out tickets in Tijuana, the government would have to step in, anyway, and not merely to create its own system, but to ferociously prosecute anyone who had come within a hundred miles of the border, er, system, set up privately.

About the only benefit I can see is that it's given Joan Fitz-Gerald a chance to prove what a fool she is:

Senate President Joan Fitz- Gerald, D-Jefferson County, said the plan appears to favor big business and wealthier undocumented immigrants who can afford to return to their country and go through the process.

This is a woman who clearly has all the skills necessary to serve in a legislature. Her class-warfare instincts are so well-honed that they even extend to dividing up one of her party's core constituencies into haves and have-nots. Or in this case, haves and don't-needs.

She even manages to accept the frankly bizarre notion that anyone already here illegally from Guatemala or Ramadi is going to cheerfully stroll back across the border and literally, not figuratively, stand in line. Suppose he's denied re-entry, especially now that physical border control is supposed to be more effective? Why take the risk dealing honestly with a system that's proven itself with decades of ineptitude?

Admittedly, the Democrats are worse. They're happy to sandbag business with the responsibility of proving that an applicant is here legally, above and beyond checking Social Security numbers, which apparently the government can't certify the integrity of any more. But they only want to shut off the private carrot. Schools, hospitals, public services of all kinds would remain available, across an effective open border. The net result is a system where illegals can freely come across in search of government benefits without even the promise of work. This doesn't merely bankrupt us financially, it imports all the worst aspects of the world the migrants are trying to esacpe.

Whatever border control is, it's primarily a sovereignty issue. We can choose to have an open policy, as we did for many decades, or a closed policy, as we did for many decades after that. But we can't credibly have any policy unless we can control, document, and potentially deport the people coming across. Fobbing off administrative responsibility onto a group whose interests lie entirely in the other direction makes no sense at all.

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