13.1.04

IMMIGRATION AMNESTIES, CONTINUED. Jonathan at Cliopatria provides useful background, noting that the occasional amnesty, or guest worker program, might serve to "keep the mess to a minimum." Tamar Jacoby also notes the attractiveness of the U.S. economy (or the economy of any developed country) to ambitious workers in less developed countries. Whether the amnesty serves to encourage migration by future productive workers or to free resources for enforcement remains to be seen. Mark Steyn suggests, based on past performance, that the Immigration and Naturalization Service is unlikely to be able to cope with the mess, as the illegal immigration problem is a consequence, in his view, of the ineffectiveness of the legal immigration system. (Possibly relevant anecdotal observation: the authorities sure like to mess around with my colleagues when their visas come up for renewal.) This Economist editorial looks at the proposal as a way of redeploying resources to catch the dangerous illegal immigrants, an idea that figures in a previous long post. Lawrence Henry suggests there are other considerations at work, as does David Brooks.

A Wall Street Journal editorial raises a point I wish to return to another day, namely the reward to bad behavior implicit in an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Readers might wish to consider the consequences of not granting an amnesty, while not catching and not deporting illegal immigrants.

For additional links and commentary, or by way of attribution, visit Milt's File, Dynamist, Hit and Run, Betsy's Page, The American Mind, this week's Carnival of the Capitalists, and Patterico's Pontifications.

SECOND SECTION: Econ Log has more on the role of the welfare state in inducing illegal immigration.

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